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The Castle in the Forest

3.14  ·  Rating details ·  2,482 Ratings  ·  394 Reviews
The final work of fiction from Norman Mailer, a defining voice of the postwar era, is also one of his most ambitious, taking as its subject the evil of Adolf Hitler. The narrator, a mysterious SS man in possession of extraordinary secrets, follows Adolf from birth through adolescence and offers revealing portraits of Hitler’s parents and siblings. A crucial reflection on t ...more
Paperback, 496 pages
Published October 16th 2007 by Random House Trade Paperbacks (first published 2007)
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Lobstergirl
Jul 31, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Kristin Cavallari
Recommended to Lobstergirl by: Dagobert O'Gara
Shelves: own, fiction
Is it possible to successfully novelize Adolf Hitler's life? Not if you're Norman Mailer. Mailer can't resist psychosexualizing everything. (Granted, it's a target-rich environment: Klara Pölzl, Adolf's mother, was the niece of Adolf's father Alois and (or) may have been his daughter; Klara called Alois "Uncle" throughout their marriage, apparently.) Mailer imagines Alois enjoying the feel of Adolf's buttocks as he beats him; he imagines a circle-jerk among school chums; Klara adores and celebra ...more
Cindi
Nov 10, 2007 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
While the concept of this book was interesting - the narrator was a demon who influenced the devopment of Adolph Hitler in his early years - I found it filled with so much disgusting detail that it was difficult to stay with it until the end. And since much of it did not directly involve Hitler, it seemed unnecessary. I would not recommend this book to anyone.
Gale Martin
Jan 02, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
About ten years ago, I immersed myself in personal reading about Hilter and the Holocaust, including a biography by Alan Bullock, Hitler: A Study in Tyranny, trying to understand how Hitler could have done what he did, how he became evil incarnate. I was no student of psychology, but I suspected family of origin issues deeply contributed to his psychopathy. I read other articles, citing beatings from his aging father and Hitler's contempt for his subservient young mother as reasons why he devolv ...more
Apoorva
Nov 15, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
i just read this book for our book club. I think others disliked it, but I thought it was fantastic and very unusual--which contributes to its fantastic-ness (is that a word)? The narrator is a minor devil who works for Satan, or maybe not, he doesn't really know, it could be another mid-level devil with no real power... and that begins to give you an idea of this elaborate world Mailer constructs.

The book is really more about Hitler's family than about him, and some in the book club began to r
...more
Liberis
Μακροσκελές, με πολλές λεπτομέρειες, το έργο του Norman Mailer, παλεύει να ψυχολογήσει τον Χίτλερ μέσα απο τη σχέση του με τους γονείς και τα αδέρφια του. Ενδιαφέρουσα προσέγγιση, που εισάγει έν έντονο μυστικισμό που εκκινει απο τον John Milton. Βρήκα ότι κάνει κοιλιές, νομίζω μπορούσα να ναι συντομότερο.
Amy
Jul 30, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio-unabridged
CD/unabridged/Literature: Where do I start? Well, I'm giving it four stars and I hate that I liked it. I mean, it's about Hitler!

The narrator was Harris Yulin and he does a great job narrating with an American accent while doing the voices in a German one. (Harris Yulin played Head Watcher Quentin Travers on Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Buffy: "....and with out the slayer, you're just watching Masterpiece Theatre".) This novel is 15 discs long and had to have a good narrator. I don't think I could
...more
Matt
Feb 14, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: won-t-read-again

A strange, intriguing story marred with Mailer's overwrought obsessions/preconceptions with Freudian scatology and creepy incest and the like.

Mailer is much better off when he cuts out the self-consciously radical metaphysical hullabaloo and tells the freakin' story.

This goes equally well for this novel as for many in the Mailer canon.

A noble failure. Mailer tried to exemplify his philosophical system (which I find fascinating) using the story of Hitler's childhood and young adulthood. Interest
...more
R.
Hitler may have been a tiny bit inbred, according to Mailer's research.

Also, the Devil pulled the strings like...like Bela Lugosi in Glen or Glenda.

But, couldn't get beyond page 100.

And, keep in mind, it's part one of a trilogy.

Forest of Trees is due in 2009, with Blondi and Eva to follow in 2010.
Wendy
Jul 02, 2007 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
A terrific concept -- Hitler's childhood, told from the vantage point of the Devil. Long, long, long, with a lot of odd side trips (what is Tsar Nicholas' coronation doing here???), and kind of overwrought. Wanted it to be a lot better than it was.
T Fool
May 21, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: reviewed-books
Dead now for not even two years and entering the reputational eclipse nearly all The Known do -- perhaps a symbolic washing of the corpse -- Norman Mailer deserves his last book to be noticed, even read.

Not that this is vintage Mailer, but it does contain vintage Mailer themes: sexual untidiness, grumbling guilt and bad faith, accident as opportunistic History, harmartia, and an existential theology, a battle between good and bad angels -- in this case, a secret bureaucracy not American, but tha
...more
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2017 Reading Chal...: The Castle in the Forest 4 27 Jan 10, 2015 07:16AM  
Worth reading? 7 34 Apr 09, 2013 03:26AM  
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Norman Kingsley Mailer was an American novelist, journalist, essayist, poet, playwright, screenwriter, and film director.

Along with Truman Capote, Joan Didion, and Tom Wolfe, Mailer is considered an innovator of creative nonfiction, a genre sometimes called New Journalism, but which covers the essay to the nonfiction novel. He was awarded the Pulitzer Prize twice and the National Book Award once.
...more
More about Norman Mailer...
“Prevarication, like honesty, is reflexive, and soon becomes a sturdy habit, as reliable as truth.” 6 likes
“As the Maestro is never loath to tell us, a human who suffers from too much ambition succeeds only in exemplifying the Creator’s own lack of anticipation. The D.K., wishing His Vision to be innovative, had created the human will as an instinct all but free of Him. Once again, God had miscalculated.” 3 likes
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