Set at the Bauhaus art school in pre-war Germany…
An intoxicating story of young friendships and fledgling loves in a heady and enticing world set against the backdrop of a precarious Europe.
[ About the Book ]
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.
[ My Review ]
The Hiding Game is the latest wonderful piece of literary fiction from the author of the equally fabulous Mrs Hemingway, Naomi Wood. Due for publication on July 11th with Picador Books, The Hiding Game is an exceptional, yet very complex and intense, novel recreating the glory days of the Bauhaus Art School. Under the sponsorship of The Literary Encyclopedia, Naomi Wood travelled to where it all began in 1919 in Weimar, to where it ended fourteen years later in Berlin, via Dessau.
The Bauhaus Art School was the brainchild of Prussian architect Walter Gropius, whose minimalist approach to architecture is still very evident today in many cities and homes across the globe. The Bauhaus was intended to encourage it’s students to see beyond the everyday, to use their minds and hands differently and to see the extraordinary possibilities that exist when something is stripped back to it’s raw state revealing it’s nakedness, it’s truth. The teaching methods used at the Bauhaus were considered alternative and, for many, it’s teachers and it’s students went too far. Way ahead of it’s time, the residents of Weimar were not prepared to embrace the bizarre ethos of the school and in 1926 it relocated to Dessau. Here the now infamous Bauhaus school settled into new accommodation, a building unlike any that had been seen before.
Naomi Wood takes the incredible history of this influential school and remarkably recreates that transient period through the combination of factual and fictional characters. Described as ‘beautifully written, powerful and suspenseful…a novel about the dangerously fine line between love and obsession, set against the most turbulent era of our recent past’ The Hiding Game’s publication will coincide with the 100 year celebrations of the founding of the Bauhaus Art School.
Naomi Wood introduces the reader to six students who remain linked to the school in some fashion up to it’s demise in 1933, as the Nazi regime’s influence took hold. These students live a hedonistic lifestyle, trapped in the bubble of this avant garde world that they now reside. As they express their artistic styles through the use of metal, weave, art and more, they develop a very close, but also quite a paranoid, relationship. Naomi Wood was inspired by an old photograph of this time where the students were caught up in what appeared to be ‘a blissful utopia‘. It set her to thinking about what would happen if events transpired to upset this Utopian existence.
The characters in the book are very progressive in their thinking but also different, peculiar and very profound. All have a heightened emotional quality to their personality and, after awhile, little fissures appear in their friendships, in their relationships, as their radical lifestyle intensifies.
As the Nazi regime strengthens a palpable fear starts to take root in the minds of the Bauhaus thinkers, masters and students. Their radical ideas strike fear into the minds of many and it’s not long before the Bauhaus is again moved from Dessau to a new, and final, home in Berlin.
The Hiding Game is a window into the legacy of the Bauhaus, providing the reader with a very fascinating, yet also very authentic view of life for many during that horrifying period of our history. Naomi Wood, using fictional characters, provides the reader with an astonishing and tragic tale, a story that is completely engrossing, capturing the reader’s full attention from the opening pages. The Hiding Game is not a book that can be read at any speed. Due to the nature of it’s content I found myself putting the book down and carrying out my own research online, reading some very insightful posts about this era.
The Hiding Game is an enthralling read, with an amazing attention to detail, that I found completely fascinating and so incredibly commanding. It is a very poignant tale of love, obsession, tragedy and betrayal….a literary gem.
‘During the writing of The Hiding Game, I also discovered the ethos of the Bauhaus workshop : that creativity is in the making of things, not the production. The idea, in the words of Josef Albers, that beauty is a kind of skillfulness. And so I tried to write this book as a student would have experimented and played in their workshop. That quintessentially Bauhaus approach made writing this book deeply pleasurable.’
– Naomi Wood
[ Bio ]
Naomi Wood is the bestselling author of The Godless Boys(Picador, 2011) and the award-winning Mrs. Hemingway (Picador, 2014), which won the British Library Writer’s Award and the Jerwood Fiction Uncovered Award. It was shortlisted for the International Dylan Thomas Prize, and selected for the Richard and Judy Book Club.
Her work is available in sixteen languages. She teaches at the University of East Anglia and lives in Norwich with her family.
The Hiding Game is her third novel.
Twitter – @NaomiWoodBooks