At The Wolf’s Table
Rosella Postorino’s international bestseller, At The Wolf’s Table, is based on the shockingly true story of Margot Wölk, Hitler’s last living food tester.
Set during World War II, Postorino’s novel details the experiences of twenty-six-year-old Rosa Sauer, who escapes war-torn Berlin to live with her in-laws in the seemingly safe Gross-Partsch while her husband Gregor is on the front line in Russia. However, fears that the Allies are attempting to poison Hitler force the SS to conscript ten women, including new arrival Rosa, to go to Wolfsschanze twice a day to taste the Führer’s food. In comparison to the majority of Germany, the food tasters are privileged, yet their life is on the line with each bite.
While some of the women are dubbed ‘Fanatics’ for their adoration for Hitler, Rosa is seen as an outcast due to her upbringing in Berlin. Animosity soon grows between the food tasters, as Rosa yearns for her husband, encounters an overly familiar SS officer, and struggles to come to terms with the fact that she is ultimately helping to save the man she despises.
Postorino’s haunting debut is filled with sensory imagery, from the carnage of air raids in Berlin, to the succulent yet potentially poisonous meals served at the Wolfsschanze. It is clear that Postorino has consulted with historians, as the totalitarian nature of the Nazi regime and Hitler’s omnipresence pervade the novel, from the propaganda broadcasts encouraging Germans to ‘always practice loyalty and honesty’, to images of the Führer displayed with pride in German homes.
At the Wolf’s Table is a harrowing story of complicity and guilt that demonstrates just how far people will go in order to survive.
Emily Pullen, WHSmith Australia