Adam's Reviews > Götz and Meyer

Götz and Meyer by David Albahari
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's review

it was ok
bookshelves: jewish, balkan, germany

It is 1941 or 1942. Every day, Götz and Meyer drive a truck between the Fairground on the left bank of the River Sava in Belgrade and the village of Jajinci on the southern edge of Belgrade. They run a regular transport service between the two places. On each outward bound trip, they leave the Fairgrounds with about 100 passengers in the back of their window-less truck. They always return with an empty truck.

Götz and Meyer, the crew operating the truck are both members of the Schutzstaffel (the ‘SS’). Their passengers, who board the truck ignorant of the fact that they are embarking on the last journey that they are ever going to make, are all Jewish. Somewhere, between the Fairgrounds and Jajinci, the driver of the truck, who might be either Götz or Meyer, stops the truck, and his colleague, it would be Meyer if Götz were driving, steps outside and crawls under the truck. There, he attaches the vehicle’s exhaust pipe to an opening under the passenger compartment behind the driver’s cab, and returns to his colleague waiting at the steering wheel. They continue their journey, and by the time they reach Jajinci, all of their 100 passengers will have died of carbon monoxide poisoning.

David Albahari, the author of Götz and Meyer, is a Serbian of Jewish origin, born in Kossovo. He was born in 1948, and therefore narrowly missed experiencing the horrors of the German occupation of his native Yugoslavia. In Götz and Meyer, Albahari explores the tragedy that hit the Jews of Belgrade by trying to enter the minds of the two operators of the truck, who were, after all is said and done, merely following orders. I suppose that it would be fair to say that the author does succeed in doing this, but I did not find his somewhat repetitive meditative style of writing particularly satisfying.
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Reading Progress

April 28, 2012 – Shelved
May 30, 2012 – Started Reading
June 29, 2012 –
page 68
40.48% "An odd little book"
July 1, 2012 – Shelved as: jewish
July 1, 2012 – Shelved as: balkan
July 1, 2012 – Shelved as: germany
July 1, 2012 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-1 of 1 (1 new)

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Shovelmonkey1 This sounds interesting, I'm adding it to the virtual book pile (ps not got round to reading your book yet, sorry!)

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