According to Google, “coming together and sharing a meal is the most communal and binding thing in almost every place in the world”. Eating together, and eating at all is usually considered a good thing, but after reading Rosella Postorino’s latest novel you may just change your mind!
Based on truth, At the Wolf’s Table is about a group of German women in 1943 who are recruited by the Nazis to taste Hitler’s food before each meal to ensure it to be poison-free. As food becomes scarce and people are going hungry, these women are shuttled to the “Wolf’s Lair” in the morning to have full breakfasts and early lunches under the scrutiny of armed Nazi soldiers, then returned home and brought back at the end of the day for full dinners. After forcing themselves to fully consume each course they wait for illness to kick in, eating to stay alive and at the same time fearing death.
Newly married and all alone, Rosa has lost both her parents, her husband Gregor has gone off to war and she has moved to the country to live with her in laws outside of Berlin. She has been recruited as a food taster for Hitler where she “would participate in the liturgy of the lunchroom together with other young German women- an army of worshippers prepared to receive on (our) tongues a Communion that wouldn’t redeem us.” Rosa tries to make friends with the other tasters but relationships between the women are strained; some of them are Nazi supporters, some are not, and some are hiding something; Jewish roots, affairs, pregnancy, rape, abortion…nobody is sure who to trust. Rosa’s husband is declared missing, and as her loneliness intensifies, she develops a risky relationship with one of the soldiers. Will her husband ever be found? Will she escape the perils of war?
At The Wolf’s Lair provides a unique setting that highlights secrets, betrayals and sorrow amidst the constant fear in everyday life during World War ll. I enjoyed this story and recommend it!
Here is an article about one of the real food tasters from WWll…
And a video interview…
About the Author:
Rosella Postorino is an internationally bestselling author and an editor. She speaks fluent English, Italian, French, and German. At the Wolf’s Table is her first novel to be translated into English.