Not long now till Kate and Rob share their views on our Book of the Month, but what did you think?
We took to Goodreads to find out….
Dergrossest said: “I have had my fill of books about Nazis, but this clever little title was irresistible. And thank heaven it was since this story about the assassination of Reinhard Heydrich is absolutely brilliant. It was sort of a travelogue-type history in the manner of Tony Horowitz, although most of the travel in this book is through the author’s mind as he ruminates on the nature of historical biographies in general, wrestles with self-doubt as to whether he is up to the task of writing something original and, best of all, struggles with avoiding the creation of scenes and dialogue which are not verifiable. The author constantly offers up some stunning scene, only to tell you immediately thereafter that he has no idea if it actually occurred that way in real life – while this may be maddening to some, I enjoyed living in those moments that should have been.
The bits about Heydrich himself were disturbing since, apart from his pure evil, it is always a little scary to think about how seemingly easy it is for uneducated, untalented and whacky ne’er do wells to take power in modern industrial countries. The parts about the assassination itself were short, sad and sort of triumphant in a better-than-nothing kind of way since millions of Jews, Gypsies, Slavs and others continued to be massacred, although in a less efficient manner. Still, who doesn’t enjoy watching a Nazi getting waxed by non-Aryans?“
S Sloat adds: “As meta-fiction the author is very in the book, which pretty much goes ‘here’s this event I’ve been obsessed with my whole life, which happened in my favorite country on earth, and the two or three guys who are my heroes, who set off to kill Heydrich, the devil incarnate, and how they succeed, and it’s all worth it despite the horrendous consequences, and I’m going to try to tell the story while letting you know how extremely self-conscious I feel about it.’
The story is horrible and serious, but the narrator/author navigates you through with a light touch. Believe me, I loved the book, but that would be my one complaint – while most of the time it worked well, the author occasionally erred on the side of the flip.”
Daniel Burton concludes with: “Strange and unconventional, but oddly gripping and thrilling, even as it ends tragic and triumphant. For the end of the story is not a secret–you can find the facts of the tale on Wikipedia. But the imagination with which Binet approaches his subject, the path his obsession takes, is worth hearing it told in his voice. “O for a Muse of fire[…]””