cover image Hitler, Mussolini, and Me

Hitler, Mussolini, and Me

Charles Davis. Permanent, $28 (232p) ISBN 978-1-57962-432-3

Davis’s fourth novel is a hilarious scatological satire starring an Irish art historian living in 1938 Rome, which reduces the 20th century’s two most notorious dictators, Hitler and Mussolini, to their most base selves, known as the Flatulent Windbag and the Constipated Prick. Colgan, the dissipated Irishman and unremarkable art historian, is hired to be Hitler and Mussolini’s tour guide during a Fascist cultural tour of Italy’s art museums. Colgan writes this story years later as a memoir to his daughter, trying to soothe her outrage over his association with the two ruthless tyrants, describing how he became an unwilling Fascist hero. Colgan’s explanations of the 1938 tour events are truly funny: “there was something about Fascism that invited lavatory humour.” Hitler is charmed by the Irishman’s wit, calling Colgan “The Man Who Knows Everything,” never realizing Colgan makes up his facts, mocking the ignorance of both dictators. Museum hopping around Italy leads Colgan to understand the menace of these powerful men, making him contemplate their assassination to possibly avoid the war everyone knows is coming. Goebbels, a nasty Hitler toady, then sets a trap for Colgan, deliberately testing him with the opportunity to kill Hitler, and Colgan spends the rest of his life rationalizing why he didn’t do it. Fart jokes and suspense make this a terrific tale. [em](May) [/em]