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The Assault

3.7  ·  Rating details ·  8,702 Ratings  ·  347 Reviews
It is the winter of 1945, the last dark days of World War II in occupied Holland. A Nazi collaborator, infamous for his cruelty, is assassinated as he rides home on his bicycle. The Germans retaliate by burning down the home of an innocent family; only twelve-year-old Anton survives.

Based on actual events, The Assault traces the complex repercussions of this horrific incid
Paperback, First American Paperback Edition, 185 pages
Published March 1986 by Pantheon (first published 1982)
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James Several of his novels are available in English translation. Notably The Discovery of Heaven, but also The Procedure and Siegfried.
Julie I hate when that happens! I recently read a Syrian book called, "Cinnamon" the English translation of which has been out for years, but it is only…moreI hate when that happens! I recently read a Syrian book called, "Cinnamon" the English translation of which has been out for years, but it is only listed here in Arabic. GR should have a way to request the addition of a new translation of a book. (less)

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Oct 17, 2015 rated it really liked it
There’s a popular argument for the existence of God, which is that the world, as we see and experience it, is complexly ordered, and so someone must be responsible for this order. Which is nice and logical, of course, but, rightly or wrongly, when I look at the world I don’t see harmony, I see chaos, especially where humanity is concerned. When I think about human existence it strikes me as overwhelmingly random. Without exception, you’re thrown into a situation over which you have no control wh ...more
Stephen P
Feb 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Stephen by: Jeff Bursey
Shelves: dutch
There is an immediacy that is heart rending as the Germans enter their home. Time in the present is excruciatingly fearful told through Mulisch’s pressurized details.

Rationed war time goods disappearing the family lives in bleakness. The war has ended but not yet in this Dutch land. In the middle of the deserted street, in front of Mr. Korteweg’s house lay a bicycle with its upended front wheel still turning…” Beside the bicycle is the corpse of a fascist sympathizer, a German policeman, shot an
Harry Mulisch was born in Haarlem, Netherlands and lived in Amsterdam from 1958 until his death in 2010. His father was from Austria-Hungary and emigrated to the Netherlands after the First World War. During the German occupation in World War II his father worked for a German bank, which also dealt with confiscated Jewish assets, while his mother, Alice Schwarz, was Jewish. Mulisch and his mother escaped transportation to a concentration camp thanks to Mulisch's father's collaboration with the N ...more
All of us, I think, even if we don't have a deeply profound sense of the bittersweetness of life, carry something inside us that haunts us, and we carry those things and react to their presence according to our ability to process and place them into a healthy context -- though sometimes it is hard to quite know whether "healthy" is something genuine, arbitrary or just an artificial coping strategy. These lingering demons can include great regrets, an embarrassment or moment of public humiliation ...more
Hussam H Aql
Feb 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
الحياة جحيم، جحيم! حتى لو استقرت الجنة على الأرض غدا؛ لن تكون جنة بعد كل ما حدث.

في أواخر الحرب العالمية الثانية، وبينما هولندا ما زالت محتلة، تقتل مجموعة من المقاومين شرطيا عميلا، وتنتهي الجثة لسبب غامض امام منزل عائلة "ستينفايك"، فيحرق المنزل ولا ينجو من العائلة إلا "أنطون" ابن الاثنى عشر عاما.

رواية مستوحاه من قصة حقيقية، مليئة بالصراعات النفسية والتشويق تطرح العديد من الأسئلة التي تستحق التأمل عن من المذنب ومن البريء.

ترجمة "أمينة عابد" ممتعة ورائعة

صورة الغلاف؛ لجثة "فاكه كريست" العميل الذي اغت
Gumble's Yard
Apr 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
Just before the end of WW2 in Haarlem, a Dutch police chief and Nazi collaborator is assassinated by the Resistance outside a set of four houses including the house of Anton, his brother Peter and their parents. The inhabitants of the house which the body falls outside drag it in front of Anton’s house, Peter goes out to try and drag it further but the police arrive and torch the house and then later Anton finds out (after spending the night in jail with a girl who seems connected in some way) s ...more
Mar 17, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Probably the cover alone would have done the trick, genius cover. But actually I've read Siegfried by the author before and found it very interesting. Much like that book , The Assault also takes place during WWII or, technically, the main event of the story does, and the it takes decades to get to the bottom of it. Mulisch's life had been profoundly affected by WWII, which has informs his writing to a great degree. This novel according to The New York Times has made his reputation at home and a ...more
Ahmad Sharabiani
De aanslag, Harry Mulisch
عنوان: ترور؛ هری مولیش؛ مترجم: سامگیس زندی؛ تهران، نشر چشمه، 1393، در 205 ص، 9786002294760؛ موضوع: داستانهای نویسندگان هلندی
Seth Golbey
Jan 29, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2012, other-fiction
"He...stood with his back to the future and his face toward the past. Whenever he thought about time, which he did once in a while, he did not conceive of events as coming out of the future to move through the present into the past. Instead, they developed out of the past in the present on their way to an unknown future."

This is a book about memory and how a memory -- in this case the massacre of the Dutch protagonist's family by the Germans in the closing days of World War II -- shapes a life.
Apr 16, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: in-translation
A beautiful book of darkness and light, a book of how war marks a child and the rest of his life is spent coming to some kind of grips with the trauma and loss. Not in big bursts and frenzies most common in literature, but an acceptance through a quiet progression of incidents, a subdued awakening of memory, numbered tears and new life and threads that almost all come together but not quite. I knew I would love it when I read this:

Occasionally in the late twilight when his mother forgot to call
Jul 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Re-read for the first time since 1997, when I'd first discovered this Dutch novel. I've just been reading Caroline Moorhead's books about the Nazi occupation of France and the French Resistance and felt suddenly drawn to augment that reading with another resistance story. (For this, too, is a story of resistance, albeit in occupied Holland, though one cannot know that by reading a brief description of the plot, and to explain further would reveal too much about the story, which contains a myster ...more
Jul 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Fabulous book. Intelligent, well-crafted, gripping story, beautifully translated
Laura (bbliophile)
This was a bit better than I expected, but I still didn't like it. At all.
Randy Attwood
Sep 16, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I don't like to review books because I don't do it well. I don't do it well because I don't like to summarize plots or stories and I don't like to put myself in a position to criticize or castigate. And I hate the one- to five-star system.

I read because books create feelings inside me that resonate with me. And they cover so many so-called genres. I love action books. I love books that take me out of myself. I love books that take me into myself.

I've just finished Harry Mulisch's The Assault. Le
Mar 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In 2010, het jaar van Harry Mulisch' dood, las ik voor het eerst "De aanslag". Dat was een geweldige leeservaring, die nog werd verdiept toen ik het boekje van Frans de Rover "Over de aanslag van Harry Mulisch" las, want daarin werden tientallen motieven beschreven die ik totaal niet had gezien. Bovendien leidde dit tot mijn late herontdekking van Mulisch: ik had zijn boeken grotendeels gemeden omdat ik altijd dacht dat Mulisch een systeembouwer was die alle raadsels verklaart en daarmee doodmaa ...more
Casey (Myshkin) Buell
Dec 09, 2013 rated it it was amazing
In postwar literature the horrors of Naziism tend to be painted in broad strokes. Writers like Gunter Grass and Heinrich Boll have created masterpieces in which they explore the larger implications and impact of National Socialism. In The Assault Harry Mulisch narrows it all down to a finer point; the impact of one event on the life of one man. In occupied Holland, just weeks before liberation, a Nazi collaborator is shot in front of 12 y/o Anton Steenwijk's house. The events that quickly follow ...more
Feb 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
A gripping WWII novel, set in a war-torn Dutch town. After a A Nazi collaborator, is gunned down, while riding home on his bicycle, setting off repercussions, that resonate, with all the people involved, guilty and innocent, through the rest of their haunted lives. An excellent look at the ravages of war.
Mohamed Gamal
Jan 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
شكرا دار الكرمة علي هذة الرواية العظيمة بهذة الترجمة البديعة
Karlo Mikhail
Jan 02, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This year we would be celebrating the 68th anniversary of the defeat of Nazi Germany and its Axis allies during the Second World War. In this war the former Soviet Union, under the leadership of the Joseph Stalin, overcame great odds and delivered deathblows against the forces of fascism. While the Red Army pushed back the Blitzkrieg and caused a shift in the tides of war, patriotic forces in the occupied countries heroically took up armed resistance against the Nazi invaders. However, the role ...more
Abrar Hani
2.5 ★
Jul 11, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: real-war-fiction
I liked this book a whole lot more than All Quiet on the Western Front. I understand they are two different war novels (covering two different wars), one the story of a soldier, the other a victim of the war, but both are addressing the effect of war on, for lack of a better term, the human soul. I read these books so close together that it's hard for me to not draw comparisons between them, and that's what I'll do for this review.

First, the protagonist. I found Anton to be far more likable and
Jan 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This brilliant novel opens in the Dutch city of Haarlem in early 1945, during the Hongerwinter, the famine that afflicted millions of residents of the German-occupied western portion of the Netherlands due to a blockage of food and fuel by the Nazis. Anton Steenwijk, a 12 year old boy, and his parents and older brother were spending a quiet evening at home, huddled around a lantern to keep warm and trying to keep hunger out of their minds. Their peace was broken by the sound of nearby gunshots, ...more
In het middelbaar las ik De ontdekking van de hemel en hoewel ik me herinner dat ik dat best een goed boek vond, is er daar niet veel van blijven hangen. Van De aanslag vermoedde ik een saai, onpersoonlijk verhaal dat meer over de schrijfstijl dan over het verhaal zou gaan, maar oh boy hoe bevooroordeeld kan je zijn? Dit is een heel mooi verhaal over hoe de oorlog mensen verandert, en hoe je die voor de rest van je leven meedraagt.

Anton is twaalf wanneer er in zijn straat een nazi-sympathisant w
Jul 15, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Echt een van de beste "fictie"boeken die ik ooit heb gelezen.
Al erg lang fascineert het thema van de oorlog mij; de gelaagdheid ervan - wie is uiteindelijk schuldig, waarom moorden mensen elkaar in godsnaam uit, en waarom in godsnaam zoveel geweld? en het mysterie errond. Mijn grootouders spreken er nooit over.
Daarnaast was het boek ook erg gelaagd. Het is inderdaad (zoals te lezen is aan het einde van deze uitgave) een vrij "eenvoudig" verhaal dat wordt verteld, maar er zijn zoveel stappen, zov
Jun 09, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ik vond het een lastiger boek dan ik gewend ben. Soms moest ik een zin een paar keer lezen voordat ik begreep wat er nou echt stond. Het verhaal is verder goed, mooi uitgewerkte karakters en omgeving.
Er wordt goed gebruik gemaakt van flashbacks en het feit dat er verschillende episodes zijn vind ik zelf erg origineel en verwarrend, omdat je natuurlijk gewend bent dat een verhaal doorloopt. Je ziet het hoofdpersonage Anton Steenwijk groeien, fysiek en mentaal. Dat is mooi weergegeven.
Over het alg
Sep 15, 2008 rated it really liked it
Things are not always as they seem, and each person's perceptions of reality are limited by circumstances. In this masterful and intriguing novel, the protagonist's perception of a traumatic event is altered over time by accidental encounters with other witnesses to the same event. The reader also learns how the event and individual perceptions thereof shape the destinies of those involved. The work poses a moral question, both to the characters and to the reader, which has far-reaching implicat ...more
Sep 06, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 4-stars, school-reads
Mulisch has a way of describing his character in the finest ways. We follow Anton Steenwijk, a boy who loses his family and survives the Second World War. The war leaves its scars and Anton carries the memories with him, finding it difficult to let go.
There's this quote in the book: 'A beginning never disappears, not even at the end.' I absolutely loved that quote. There are more quotes like that in the book and it gave the story so much more meaning and feeling.
Harry Mulisch did a wonderful jo
أحمد هاني
Sep 29, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
واجه ماضيك حتى لا يعود ويبحثك عنك وانت تظن أنك قد دفنته
رواية جميلة سلسة وذات فكرة وكم أعشق الروايات ذات الأفكار
This is quite good.
Jul 14, 2013 marked it as to-read
Recommended to Bettie☯ by: Wanda
to find

5* result from Wandaful, .Karen., Ellinor
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Harry Kurt Victor Mulisch along with W.F. Hermans and Gerard Reve, is considered one of the "Great Three" of Dutch postwar literature. He has written novels, plays, essays, poems, and philosophical reflections.

Mulisch was born in Haarlem and has lived in Amsterdam since 1958, following the death of his father in 1957. Mulisch's father was from Austria-Hungary and emigrated to the Netherlands after
More about Harry Mulisch
“Hate is the darkness, that's no good. And yet we've got to hate Fascists, and that's considered perfectly all right. How is that possible? It's because we hate them in the name of the light, I guess, whereas they hate only in the name of darkness. We hate hate itself, and for this reason our hate is better than theirs.
But that's why it's more difficult for us. For them everything is very simple, but for us it's more complicated. We've got to become a little bit like them in order to fight them so we become a little bit unlike ourselves. But they don't have that problem; they can do away with us without any qualms. We first have to do away with something inside ourselves before we can do away with them. Not them; they can simply remain themselves, that's why they're so strong. But they'll lose in the end, because they have no light in them. The only thing is, we mustn't become too much like them, mustn't destroy ourselves altogether, otherwise they'll have won in the end...”
“A man who has never been hungry may possess a more refined palate, but he has no idea what it means to eat.” 9 likes
More quotes…