Friday, January 18, 2013
Friday's Forgotten Books: January 18, 2013
Links to other books can be found at Evan Lewis' blog, right here.
THE ASSAULT, Harry Mullish
Chief Inspector Ploeg, a sadistic collaborator with Holland's Nazi occupation force during the war, is assassinated by Bolsheviks on a street where four houses stand. The body is placed in front of the Steenwijk house. In retribution, Nazi troops storm the home of young Anton, killing his parents and brother.
Anton lives the second half of the twentieth century as normally as he can, encountering Ploeg's son, and the various neighbors who also lived on his street, Discovering the truth is a slow process and it takes almost half a century to come upon the full truth.
This book perfectly sums up what happens during war: people who have no part in it suffer. And that suffering reverberates over the years.
Mullish's most ambitious novel, “The Discovery of Heaven,” also widely translated, was considered his masterpiece. A melodrama more than 700 pages long, it offers a sweeping discourse on history and art, science and religion, man and God, good and evil. The two main male characters in the book are consummate intellectuals like Mr. Mulisch himself.
Despite, or because of, the novel’s many layers of intellectual inquiry, it became a best seller and was voted “the best Dutch-language book ever” by Dutch readers in a 2007 newspaper poll.