An interesting review about Good People in Times Literary Supplement
“Good People chillingly captures the terrors and tensions of life under Stalin and Hitler.”

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The Economist with a great review on Good people:
“Not monsters or even cynics, he answers in a pacey, plot-heavy novel of dramatic events and big ideas, but gifted storytellers fuelled by ordinary motives of love, loyalty or ambition. Blessed or cursed by the “elasticity of the human soul”, they wield this suppleness of spirit as “the hidden hand that smoothed out every wrinkle in the flag of truth”

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Nir Baram in “Meet the Author” in the Guardian: How do we work and live in a society that we consider unjust?

This book looks at the second world war from the perspective of two characters, Sasha and Thomas, who collaborate with Stalin and Hitler respectively. What interested you about that subject?
“In Israel, the second world war and the Holocaust are something you grow up with. At school, in the army, you sometimes feel that the Holocaust is shoved down your throat. But in literature you tend to come across the usual character types: either the bureaucrats such as Eichmann, or the highly perverse caricature of a Nazi. In contrast, I wanted to look at the role of brilliant and creative people, kind of “free spirits”, who happened to find themselves living under those regimes. Sasha, for example, may not agree with the objectives of the NKVD, but working for them provides her first chance to shine, and an opportunity to realise her talents.”

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Chapter from “Good People” appears in the Guardian newspaper:
“Good People is a globe spanning, wide-canvassing novel that probes the depths of one of history’s darkest hours. With riveting narrative force, based on thorough historical research, this extraordinary novel spans World-War II Europe across time and space, boldly sketching an unflinching portrait of men and women and their times. In the extract presented below, our protagonist, Thomas Heiselberg, a Berliner, discovers a Jewish woman violently murdered in his home.”

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“Exactly the kind of intellectual novel that will get you through a summer spent chain smoking in Berlin cafes…”The story follows Berliner Thomas and Sasha of Leningrad as fate brings them together, just as it does their leaders, Hitler and Stalin. The sparks from this flint are determination, willpower, and, as the years go on, horror at what those virtues cost. In the end, though, Good People ultimately returns to Germany, although it is a place entirely changed from that which started the novel. The wrenching prose and plot has earned young Israeli author glowing comparisons to Dostoyevsky and Grossman. “How does a man in his early 30s know how to write like this?” Helen Elliott marveled.”

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First review for Good people in Australia was published in the national newspaper “The Australian” by the known reviewer Helen Elliott :”This is not a flawless novel but it is tremendous. I read it in two sittings and I learned a lot. How does a man in his early 30s know how to write like this?”

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“Baram narrative anatomises the malleability and fragility of truth, during lives of monstrous brutality and incoherence. Order is ephemeral; chaos is always just a falter away. Meaning and morality are quickly twisted. Unrelenting and undeniable, this is a savage, sometimes horrifyingly comic, autopsy on the warping of once-decent people.”

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Review The Big Issue

May 5, 2016EN

“Most alarming is how timely and universal the book’s themes are.”

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A review in The Age by Andrew Riemer: “Good People is a richly textured panorama of German and Russian life and society in the years leading up to the violent (and predictable) collapse of the Russo-German peace pact… This ample novel lives most memorably through Baram’s vignettes of people, dwellings, cities, landscapes and the like that seem to lie, at times, at the periphery of its central concerns.”

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Review in the New Zealand Listener: “The chilling irony of that thought is its self-reflexivity. In Baram’s fatalistic, labyrinthine Stalinistic universe, the game will always be up and there will be no escape for anyone.”

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In 2016 Good People will be published in US, UK and Australia. In its January issue the magazine the White Review publish a chapter from the new English translation – the new year’s eve party in the NKVD branch in Leningrad, in a few hours it will be 1940…

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The NRC, Nederland leading newspaper, published its selection for the best 50 novels of the last 5 years: Barams novel was chosen with books by Bolano, Franzen, Murakami, John Williams and others

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“The critical praise which have been showered on this book is like a writer’s wildest dream. A German newspaper said, “Dostoyevsky would write like this if he lived in Israel today.” Except that feelings of guilt are, as explained, less of an issue than careerism, it isn’t too much of an exaggeration. In its specifically Stalinist setting, Solzhenitsyn also comes to mind.”

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Five stars and great review about “Good People” in one of Denmark most important newspapers: Berlingske…

“What would we have done if we did live in that part of the world? It is inevitably a recurring question while reading Nir Barams masterful novel ‘Good people’. In his beautiful novel of two main characters and a host of other tragic secondary characters – give the Israeli writer Nir Baram a vivid depiction of life under Nazism and Communism in 1930s. The novel is a freezing depiction of moral decay…”

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Outstanding review about “Good People” in one of Argentina most important newspapers “La Nación” by the acclaimed write José María Brindisi

“Sobre estos dos ejes argumentales, que son en verdad dos readaptaciones siniestras, avanza la novela del escritor israelí Nir Baram que, al momento de su publicación -en 2010-, tenía apenas treinta y cinco años. El dato es significativo, o más bien sorprendente, no sólo por la penetración psicológica que el autor obtiene respecto de sus personajes, construida a partir de innumerables pliegues y vaivenes, y alejada por tanto de cualquier sombra arquetípica, sino también por el conocimiento minucioso -y la naturalidad con que se despliega- de las estructuras de ambos Estados, de sus aparatos jerárquicos y entramados burocráticos. Con todo, lo que más llama la atención es el tono -incluso por la extensión, por el hecho de sostenerlo durante más de quinientas páginas- con que se cuenta la historia, siempre cargado de un fino tamiz humorístico, que nunca llega a distanciarse de lo real y así lo revela en sus aristas más feroces..”

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The Mexican Writer JORGE F. HERNÁNDEZ wrote an article In El Pais about his meeting with Nir Baram in Mexico:
“I met Nir Baram during the last International Fair of Guadalajara and had the pleasure to make him not only an instant friend with his lucid and full of intelligent humor and conversation skills – but also to express my admiration for his great prose. Baram came to Mexico to present Good people (Abundant, 2013), a voluminous novel that reads like pure water. His fine prose has been written with true heart and soul and as you read it you hear not only the voice the writer, but also each of his memorable characters.”

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“A very impressive and bold novel, a journey to hell with no return.”

(La Repubblica)

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Cicero Magazine – Germany

September 9, 2012DE

“Nir Baram begun to inherit the Israeli great authors Amos Oz and David Grossman, his new novel ‘Good People’ is doing just that – With a bang!”

Interview with Nir Baram – Cicero Magazine – 2014.

 

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Süddeutsche Zeitung – Review

December 12, 2012DE

“Nir Baram is the new hope of Israeli literature… A novel of great force and precision.”

(Süddeutsche Zeitung)

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One of the most serious and original reviews ever to be written about “Good People” in the great literary magazine ‘Letras Libris’: “Good people is not a novel about the Second World War… The challenge that Baram takes on himself is to break the reader identification system that often goes looking for a character to identify with and to believe in. There is no doubt that Good People comes out victorious”

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