cover image Sins of the Father

Sins of the Father

Allan Massie. Carroll & Graf Publishers, $19.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-88184-849-6

In 1964, famous economist and Holocaust survivor Dr. Eli Czinner lives in Argentina with his English wife, Nell, and their daughter Becky. In the years following the war, he lost his sight, an appropriate fate for a man who was metaphorically blind during the fascist period, when ``he had combined his contempt for the Nazis with his happy confidence that he could influence them, even lead them by the nose, save himself and his people by making himself useful.'' But his contribution to Germany's economic reconstruction prompted whispers of collaboration that have haunted him ever since. Introduced to Becky's fiance, Franz, and his father, Rudi, Eli recognizes the older man's voice as that of a former SS officer and mass murderer. Rudi's eventual trial in Israel lays on Franz and Becky the weight of their fathers' past sins--a burden that will never leave them, the novel's final section reveals. Londoner Massie ( A Question of Loyalties ) adroitly varies first- and third-person narrative voices in a story that to plumb the foundations of truth and tragedy, history and memory, in a tale of one generation's painful legacy to the next. ( July )