Depicting a young woman's life in Nazi Germany, this is the masterpiece from the author of Child of All Nations.
Irmgard Keun was born in Berlin in 1905 and found instant success with her novels Gilgi (1931) and The Artificial Silk Girl (1932). Everything changed in 1933 when the Nazis blacklisted her and destroyed her books; in response, she attempted to sue the Gestapo for loss of earnings. She left Germany (and her husband) in 1936 and lived in exile in Europe, where she wrote Child of All Nations (1936) and After Midnight (1937). She sneaked back into Germany in 1940 under a false name and spent the rest of the war in Cologne. In later years, she wrote for magazines and radio and raised a daughter alone. She died in 1982.
I cannot think of anything else that conjures up so powerfully the
atmosphere of a nation turned insane * Sunday Telegraph *
Acerbically observed by this youthful, clever, undeceived eye....Crystalline yet acid * Jewish Chronicle *
Explosive ... Reading After Midnight today [still] feels dangerous. I kept turning to the copyright page, unable to believe that such a sexually and politically frank book could have been published in 1937 Germany ... After Midnight haunts far beyond its final page * NPR *
Brief, important and haunting -- Penelope Lively