Book of the Week
History of History by Ida Hattermer – Higgins
The History of History isn’t the best new book this year—that distinction belongs to an actual work of history, Daniel Sharfstein’s The Invisible Line—but Ida Hattemer-Higgins’ debut novel is the hardest to put down.
The narrative begins in Sept. 2002, when a young American ex-pat named Margaret awakes in a wood outside Berlin, her hands muddied and the last few months missing from her memory. Unable or unwilling to locate the source of her amnesia, Margaret instead becomes obsessed with the history of her adopted country—specifically with the lives of Magda Goebbels, wife of Joseph, and of Regina Straus, a Jewish house frau.
Both women took the lives of their children, lest they fell into enemy hands. Margaret communes with their ghosts; desperate to learn whether these acts of murder were a mother’s ultimate sacrifice, or her ultimate sin.