The Aftermath

Publisher: Random House Canada

Hamburg, 1946. Thousands remain displaced in what is now the British Occupied Zone. Charged with overseeing the rebuilding of this devastated city and the de-Nazification of its defeated people, Colonel Lewis Morgan is requisitioned a fine house on the banks of the Elbe, where he will be joined by his grieving wife, Rachael, and only remaining son, Edmund.
But rather than force its owners, a German widower and his traumatized daughter, to leave their home, Lewis insists that the two families live together. In this charged and claustrophobic atmosphere all must confront their true selves as enmity and grief give way to passion and betrayal.
The Aftermath is a stunning novel about our fiercest loyalties, our deepest desires and the transformative power of forgiveness.


The Aftermath is an entertaining blend of romance, history and suspense, one to which Brook’s style is perfectly suited: it’s sturdy, stripped down with just the right amount of gnarled beauty poking through the cracks.”
—Emily Donaldson, Toronto Star
“Profoundly moving…. Brook’s beautifully written novel ponders issues of decency, guilt and forgiveness…. The meticulous integrity of Brook’s prose style builds a narrative of chastened humans, ending less in tragedy than in a kind of redemptive inertia—turning back from the brink, taking time to mourn.”
The Independent
“Excellent…. A captivating tale not only of love among the ruins but also of treachery and vengeance…. [The] main plot strand is thoroughly engaging…. However, Brook weaves around it a number of masterly subplots peopled by equally flawed and intriguing characters…. Brook is as sure-footed at unfolding an extramarital affair behind ornate doors as he is at portraying a hardscrabble fight for survival among the ‘apocalyptic architecture’ on the streets…. As loyalties are tested and consciences are pricked The Aftermath does what all good novels do: it poses many complex questions and resists neat, topped-and-tailed answers.”
Literary Review

“Brook creates a pitiful and nuanced portrait of the pointless violence and cruelty of war, in which distinctions between the good guys and the bad are sometimes disturbingly blurred…. The pleasures of The Aftermath…[lie] in watching the characters unfurl as, each in their own way, they deal with what war has cost them…. An absorbing, readable tale and a rare corrective to the jingoistic, sentimental or thrillerish tone of so many modern novels of this period…. The Aftermath is a reflective act of compassionate but tough-minded observation. Offering sufficient detail to create a post-war mood, yet never wallowing in vintage trappings, this is a stylish, heart-searching and convincing story that by refusing to peddle clichés and received wisdom, memorably refashions this period.”
Sunday Herald
“Rhidian Brook takes a piece of history I thought I knew well and breaks it open; The Aftermath is a compelling, surprising and moving novel.”
—Sadie Jones
“Rhidian Brook’s arresting novel brings vividly to life a little-told aspect of World War II: its aftermath. His story—energetically and authoritatively told—is unsettling and compelling, suffused with suffering and, mercifully, some hope.”
—Claire Messud

“A moving, always enthralling journey into the dark and light of history. Rhidian Brook has written a brilliant novel.”
—Joseph O’Neill