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HHhH - Nov 2020 Book Group discussion thread

  • 2020
  • books
12 watchers
Dec 2020
12:27am, 13 Dec 2020
19975 posts
  • 0
So I’m also a 9. And also thought there was a fascination with Heydrich which was supposed to show why he was such an important target but made the book more about him than the parachutists. And that not knowing the car colour showed how little you could be sure about any history, which could make anyone question their research. And that a lot of the asides were deliberate to show this was a story that was personal and should be taken emotionally - that to recount so much death neutrally starts to make individual deaths matter of fact and lost in the deluge
Dec 2020
9:20pm, 30 Dec 2020
11621 posts
  • 0
Little Nemo
I finished this a while ago but it's a hard book to review. My major problem with it was the author's dilemma over how to tell this story. I found this a somewhat self-imposed and artificial dilemma. I'd be happy to read either a fictionalised account of a totally factual one. It felt like the author was trying to have his cake and eat it when he kept going on about not wanting to make them into characters but then appeared to do exactly that later on. I don't think it contributed anything and at times interrupted the flow of the story. Also I felt sorry for his girlfriends.

A more trivial problem was the style. At times it felt as though he had just chucked his notes into a random pile of fragments. And there were no bloody page numbers!!!

But despite that I did find this a great and important read. Especially towards the end when he seemed to tell the story in a more straightforward and less fractured way. I found it fascinating to have another country's view on how Britain behaved during the war. I didn't know a great deal about what happened to Czechoslovakia in WWII so it was eye-opening. I also didn't know what happened to Heydrich so that part was thrilling. Initially I thought they had completely bungled it, it was a surprise to find that he succumbed to blood poisoning.

I gave this book a 7, would have been a 9 without the author's interruptions!
Dec 2020
9:35pm, 30 Dec 2020
11622 posts
  • 0
Little Nemo
Interesting to read back on everyone else's opinions. Secretly glad I'm not the only one who struggled with the style :-)
Dec 2020
4:13pm, 31 Dec 2020
20729 posts
  • 0
Just parcelled my copy up to send to Younger Daughter (when the post office is next open).
4 Jan
8:30am, 4 Jan 2021
47974 posts
  • 0
Been meaning to post this for a few days. For those who enjoyed HHhH there are some other books on my 'eee, that were a grand read' pile that are reminiscent, principally another French author in translation, Eric Vuillard.

I'm currently listening to the (short, 2h43m) audiobook of The Order of the Day which I've previously read in print. It tells of the various meetings in the 1930s that lead up to WW2. Meetings between Nazis and German industrialists, between the Germans and British, Czechs etc. So, yes, we're impinging on HHhH territory. There's less of the author in the book but enough to remind you of Binet. The third chapter, which is where I've currently reached, describing those industrialists meeting Hitler for the first time is absolutely brilliant.

It's not all Nazis. Vuillard also wrote Sorrow of the Earth which is about how the 'Cowboy and Indian' image we got in the Twentieth Century was largely a creation of Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show.

If you get 'em, make sure it's the excellent translation by Mark Polizzotti. There are lots of print and audio editions of Vuillard's works out there in forrin.
4 Jan
8:35am, 4 Jan 2021
44090 posts
  • 0
Thank you

I read Fatherland straight after which was an interesting juxtaposition.

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