Title: The Hiding Game
Author: Naomi Wood
Genre: Historical Fiction
Publication Date: 11th July 2019
In 1922, Paul Beckermann arrives at the Bauhaus art school and is immediately seduced by both the charismatic teaching and his fellow students. Eccentric and alluring, the more time Paul spends with his new friends the closer they become, and the deeper he falls in love with the mesmerising Charlotte. But Paul is not the only one vying for her affections, and soon an insidious rivalry takes root.
As political tensions escalate in Germany, the Bauhaus finds itself under threat, and the group begins to disintegrate under the pressure of its own betrayals and love affairs. Decades later, in the wake of an unthinkable tragedy, Paul is haunted by a secret. When an old friend from the Bauhaus resurfaces, he must finally break his silence.
From the author of the award-winning Mrs Hemingway, Naomi Wood’s The Hiding Game is a beautifully written, powerful and suspenseful novel about the dangerously fine line between love and obsession, set against the most turbulent era of our recent past.
I can’t pretend to be any kind of expert on the Bauhaus art movement but I do love art and books like The Hiding Game use language and story in such an atmospheric way to build a tale of how people relate to each other and the often tragic consequences of love, jealousy and betrayal within an insular group of friends. The plot follows Paul as he looks back on his youth at the Bauhaus School of art in 1920s Germany and revisits his relationships with the people he met there.
I actually read The Hiding Game over a few weeks which is quite unusual for me but I found I enjoyed it most when taking the time to appreciate the intelligent and atmospheric prose. It’s a strange one, in the sense that in the background political and social tensions are gearing up for the rise of the Nazi’s and the complete obliteration of World War Two, yet our focus is on this small group of often pretentious friends and the way they love, betray and obsess over one another. It creates a really fascinating look into what life was like in the contained world of an art movement whilst the real world continues on in the periphery. It is clear the author has done a tremendous amount of research into developing a very authentic feel to the story and the imagery and it works very well. If you have a specific interest in the Bauhaus then I believe you will enjoy The Hiding Game tremendously but even if you don’t it is a smart and original book that I found compelling throughout. The characters are not often likeable but this book evokes such a strong sense of feeling and mood that it doesn’t really matter. I’d definitely recommend to anyone looking for historical fiction from a slightly different angle and anyone with any interest in the influential Bauhaus movement.
I kindly received a copy of the book from the publisher. My review is entirely my own honest opinion.