Five words from the blurb: masterpiece, dictator, Germany, Jewish, tyranny
Hans Keilson wrote this book whilst hiding from the Nazis during WWII. The narrator is a Jewish boy who witnesses a dictator rising to power. We see the way his life is changed by the increasing influence of this evil man. Although it is obvious he is referring to Hitler, the dictator is never named, giving the book a universal relevance.
The Death of the Adversary is so well written that I quickly gave up noting every profound quote that I found – there are original, powerful statements about the human psyche on almost every page.
As you can imagine, the book gets progressively darker and more painful to read as the dictator’s power becomes greater. Some of the scenes were heartbreaking – the simplicity of the words a stark contrast to the complexity of the surrounding text.
This is the kind of book where I wish I didn’t give ratings. It is clearly a masterpiece, containing powerful statements about evil, hatred and human endurance, but it is a book to appreciate rather than to enjoy. It contained very little plot and at times I found it difficult to motivate myself to read it. This is a book that requires effort and concentration and I have read so many books about WWII that I often struggled to focus on the complex sentence structures.
This is clearly one of the most important pieces of writing to come out of this period and if you are willing to put in the effort you will be rewarded with new ways of looking at the world.
Recommended to fans of deep, dark literary fiction.