Good Reading : November 2014
GENERAL FICTION The Zone of Interest Martin Amis Martin Amis tries to imagine the unimaginable - life in a concentration camp from the perspectives of three perpetrators. The first is Angelus Thomsen, a privileged young man who rises in the Nazi Party due to his familial relationship with the infamous Martin Bormann. His perspective probably echoes that of many young Nazis, who wonder if they have gone too far but have also gained too much by toeing the party line. The second viewpoint is that of Paul Doll, the commandant of the concentration camp. Here is a real brute, who thinks more about his own comfort than about the barbarous consequences of his work. The final narrator is Szmul, a trusted Jew in the camp who is rewarded with extra rations by working for the Nazis. His team assists in leading new arrivals to the gas chambers, and then working with the bodies – checking orifices for smuggled jewels and removing the hair and gold fillings. All three of these monsters will become human to you as the novel progresses – because that is what they were. The face of evil is human. This is an important and unique book – but not an easy one to read. First, the subject matter is confronting.You will be disconcerted by the banality with which the Nazis discuss their goals. Second, there is very little plot. Amis also litters the text with so much German that without a familiarity with the language the reader will struggle. It’s possible that Amis has been too ambitious, and yet somehow – if you can make it to the end – you will feel as if you have obtained an insight into the German mentality dur ing the rule of the Nazis. ★★★ RG Jonathan Cape $32.99 Reviewed by Lauren Cook The Zone of Interest Mcamp from the perspectives of three perpetrators. The first is Angelus Thomsen, a pr ivileged young man who rises in the Nazi Party due to his familial relationship with the infamous Martin Bormann. His perspective probably About Martin Amis Born in England in 1949, Martin Amis read nothing but comic books as a child until his stepmother introduced him to the books of Jane Austen. Amis has often nominated Austen as his earliest influence. At the age of 27 he became literary editor of New Statesman, where he met fellow writer Christopher Hitchens. The two remained friends until Hitchens died in 2011. About Martin Amis Amis has often nominated Austen as his earliest editor of New Statesman For more than thirty years, Angela Gillespie has sent friends and family around the world an end-of-year letter titled ‘Hello from the Gillespies’. It’s always been cheery and full of good news. But this year, Angela surprises herself – she tells the truth. In this funny and heartfelt novel from the author of The House of Memories, family loyalties are tested to their core, challenging the Gillespies to pull together in wonderfully surprising ways.
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