Normally, I don't really read books set in this time period (here 1659), but I am glad I tried something different. Nice little mystery surrounded by...moreNormally, I don't really read books set in this time period (here 1659), but I am glad I tried something different. Nice little mystery surrounded by really well written clash between superstition and curiosity. The main characters are interesting and well developed (the villains can be a little flat, but it doesn't take away from the story). I will be reading the other books in the series.(less)
I refuse to write a disclaimer regarding my personal beliefs...
A very important part of the historical record and a must for anyone interested in Germ...moreI refuse to write a disclaimer regarding my personal beliefs...
A very important part of the historical record and a must for anyone interested in German politics in the post WWI period. Also a must for anyone else.
(I have often wondered how many people actually read this as opposed to just owning a copy for appearance's sake back then. Now, I get to cringe at people acting too ashamed to read it, tripping all over themselves to come up with these perfectly reasonable excuses for reading it. Nice...'cuz, you know, its just fine to avoid being uncomfortable and to avoid examining a truly shameful period of our shared human history.)(less)
**spoiler alert** I couldn't stop reading it, although the main character borders on more of a ridiculous caricature of a Nazi. Amazing that one Nazi...more**spoiler alert** I couldn't stop reading it, although the main character borders on more of a ridiculous caricature of a Nazi. Amazing that one Nazi could have been party to so many evil types of acts...even though I consider Dr. Aue to be an unreliable narrator, he does seem to just fall into things, which borders on the surreal. The Einsatzgruppen, Stalingrad, Auschwitz...and of course the incest with his twin, he probably murdered his mother, the obsession with shit...not the most believable character.
The sections on Stalingrad were really interesting. I guess I'm rating it 4 and not 3 stars because of those sections and maybe also because I appreciated how "over the top" it was without getting concerned about being offended. (I'm not easily offended, just easily bored.) Also, Dr. Aue was fascinating, even though he didn't seem particularly believable.
It's a very long book (and I had a hard time being interested in his dreamscape after he was shot in the head), but many passages are very well-written. (If violence and an almost infantile approach to inappropriate sex is likely to really offend you, you will probably become too distracted by these elements to see that other plot points show a really insightful use of language.) Also, the characters can be really stereotypical. Its a book of Nazis as you would want them to be, not the human beings that they were in reality. Considering how graphic the book is at times, I don't think it was necessary to make so many of them so blatantly evil in all aspects. Knowing they weren't monsters, but human beings, makes them worse, gives you more to think about.
I can't explained why I got pulled in so completely, but I did, even if I did find myself laughing at parts that were not meant to be funny (if you read it, I'll just say...sea anemone).
I'm really amazed by how different the reception of this book is, depending on whether one is American or European. And very disappointed that anyone would take the time to add it to a "never read" shelf...just essentially critiquing a book that will never be read.
It is just a book. It will bore you, entertain you, disgust you, or mean something to you. Read it or don't. (less)