The Zone of Interest

Martin Amis. Knopf, $26.95 (304p) ISBN 978-0-385-35349-6
An absolute soul-crusher of a book, the brilliant latest from Amis (Lionel Asbo: State of England) is an astoundingly bleak love story, as it were, set in a German concentration camp, which Thomsen, one of the book’s three narrators, refers to as Kat Zet. Thomsen, the nephew of Hitler’s private secretary, Martin Bormann, has a vague role as a liaison at Buna Werke, where the Germans are attempting to synthesize oil for the war effort using slave labor. He sets his sights on Hannah Doll, wife of camp commandant Paul, who is the second of three narrators as well as a drunk whose position is under threat. As Thomsen gets closer with Hannah, both of them, horrified at what’s going on, conspire to undermine Paul—Hannah at home and Thomsen around the camp. Paul, meanwhile, follows up his suspicions about his wife and Thomsen by involving Szmul, the book’s third narrator and a Jew who disposes of the corpses in the gas chamber, in a revenge plot. Amis took on the Holocaust obliquely in Time’s Arrow. Here he goes at it straight, and the result is devastating. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 07/21/2014
Release date: 09/30/2014
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Hardcover - 320 pages - 978-0-224-09974-5
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Hardcover - 1 pages - 978-0-345-80909-4
Hardcover - 978-0-676-97784-4
Open Ebook - 304 pages - 978-0-385-35350-2
Hardcover - 9 pages - 978-1-4712-6924-0
Hardcover - 320 pages - 978-0-676-97783-7
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