[Read] ➮ HHhH Author Laurent Binet – Saudionline.co.uk

HHhH summary HHhH, series HHhH, book HHhH, pdf HHhH, HHhH 065baabf2a Deux Parachutistes Tch Coslovaques Envoy S Par Londres Sont Charg S D Assassiner Reinhard Heydrich, Chef De La Gestapo, Chef Des Services Secrets Nazis, Planificateur De La Solution Finale, Protecteur De Boh Me Moravie, Surnomm Le Bourreau , La B Te Blonde , L Homme Le Plus Dangereux Du IIIe Reich Apr S Des Mois De Pr Paration, Il Est Finalement Abattu Dans Sa Mercedes Il S Ensuit Une Folle Traque Qui Se Termine Dans Une Glise Du Centre De Prague HHhH Est Un Acronyme Invent Par Les SS Qui Signifie En Allemand Le Cerveau D Himmler S Appelle Heydrich Himmlers Hirn Heisst Heydrich L Essentiel De L Histoire Se Situe Entre Et Le R Cit Est Structur Comme Un Entonnoir Des Chapitres Courts Relatent Diff Rents Pisodes En Divers Lieux Et Diverses Poques, Qui Tous Convergent Vers Prague O S Est D Roul L Attentat Tous Les Personnages De Ce Livre Ont R Ellement Exist Ou Existent Encore L Auteur A Rapport Les Faits Le Plus Fid Lement Possible Mais A D R Sister La Tentation De Romancer Comment Raconter L Histoire Cette Question Conduit Parfois L Auteur Se Mettre En Sc Ne Pour Rendre Compte De Ses Conditions D Criture, De Ses Recherches, De Ses H Sitations La V Rit Historique Se R V Le La Fois Une Obsession N Vrotique Et Une Qu Te Sans Fin Laurent Binet A Ans Il Est N Paris Il A Effectu Son Service Militaire En Slovaquie Et A Partag Son Temps Entre Paris Et Prague Pendant Plusieurs Ann Es Agr G De Lettres, Il Est Professeur De Fran Ais En Seine Saint Denis Depuis Dix Ans Et Charg De Cours L Universit HHhH Est Son Premier Roman


10 thoughts on “HHhH

  1. says:

    This is what I think inventing a character in order to understand historical facts is like fabricating evidence Or rather, in the words of my brother in law, with whom I ve discussed all this It s like planting false proof at a crime scene where the floor is already strewn with incriminating evidence. I don t know how to describe him any other way except that he has a punchable face.This is a book with a plot ensnared in the arduous process of conceiving a historical novel Laurent Binet is writing about the assassination of the Nazi Reinhard Heydrich and the men who killed him in Prague Binet shares with us the concerns he has with taking too many liberties with what is known truth and what are his reasonable speculations Was Heydrich riding in a forest green car or was it black Does it matter His girlfriend Natacha reads the chapters as he writes them She is involved in the process to call him to task whenever he breaks one of his own rules about writing historical fiction When she reaches the second sentence, she exclaims What do you mean, the blood rises to his cheeks and he feels his brain swell inside his skull You re making it up He sheepishly deletes the line, but then later in the day he puts it back in because every other line he tries to replace it with lacks precision Oscar Wilde has that famous quote regarding this exact predicament I was working on the proof of one of my poems all the morning, and took out a comma In the afternoon I put it back again Of course, Binet doesn t know exactly how Heydrich may have reacted to a piece of bad news, but he does know that, given what he has read about him, than likely anger, dark consuming anger, is the only way that someone, especially as disturbed and self absorbed as Heydrich, could react He was picked on as a child He was called the goat due to his appearance and his awkward sounding voice The anger against humanity could have begun there The question is, did his childish tormentors create him or did they sense on some feral level that he was going to be the architect of something evil No one could have guessed the magnitude of the holocaust that he was going to unleash He acquired many nicknames once he found his home in the Nazi party the Hangman, the butcher, the Blond Beast, and this one given by Adolf Hitler himself the Man with the Iron heart The Nazi party attracted the outcasts, the angry, the perverted, and the brilliantly demented They were men who wanted to have power over people and dreamed up creative ways to hurt them, but even among them, Hitler had to look for a man cold and calloused enough to exterminate legions Reinhard Heydrich was the perfect man for the job.I want to return for a moment to Binet s struggles with speculating about Heydrich s physical reaction to a particular piece of bad news Nonfiction in many ways fails to tell the truth by the very process of stripping away all the elements that are not known We know that things are discussed, but usually those dialogues are not recorded for posterity A good writer will read everything he can find on a historical person he plans to use in a novel She will read everything she can find about the period He will read letters and diaries to glean bits and pieces of information that will lend authenticity to his novel She will know the type of pen that was in the hand of a letter writer or the shapes of stains on the walls of a prison cell or the color of frilly underwear a mistress wore for her German lover When a writer has done this much research, he knows instinctively although still subjectively how a historical figure will react to a situation Reasonably accurate dialogue can be written, most assuredly better written than the original discussion The point of historical fiction is to make people come alive than what can be accomplished by staying strictly within the facts of what is known I do appreciate it when a fiction writer does not alter events known to be true Though even that I can forgive if they notate those deviations in the forward Was the car dark green or was it black Reinhard Heydrich is a man ripe for assassination He is careless and frequently seen riding around Prague in a convertible car without bodyguards The people who know him despise him, and the rest of the world would, too, if they knew what he was doing Heydrich is well aware that everyone considers him the most dangerous man in the Reich, and it s a source of vanity for him, but he also knows that if all the Nazi dignitaries court him so insistently, it is above all to try to weaken Himmler, his boss Heydrich is an instrument for these men, not yet a rival It s true that in the devilish duo he forms with Himmler, he is thought to be the brains HHhH, they say in the SS Himmlers Hirn heisst Heydrich Himmler s brain is called Heydrich , but he is still only the right hand man, the subordinate, the number two He is dangerous because he is ambition twined with ruthlessness Binet will introduce us to the assassins They are men from Czechoslovakia and Slovakia, who are willing to risk their lives parachuting back into enemy territory to kill a man responsible for so much misery As he gets to know them, he becomes attached to them He wants to save them He wants to write their life after their acts of heroism He could create a hidden door that will allow them to escape He could change the circumstances and give them a chance to fight their way clearbut then that would be breaking the rules Jozef Gab k and Jan Kubi , young men who proved too much for Heydrich.I remember years ago H W Brands, who frequently shows up on the History Channel, was discussing the death of Lincoln He must have been researching him for his Ulysses S Grant biography, but one of the things that he talked about that really stuck with me was that he found himself tearing up as he wrote about the assassination of Lincoln That event that he knew so well still inspired an emotional reaction in him that caught him by surprise As writers, we would love to write a new ending, but of course, in the case of Lincoln, he couldn t have died at a better time to insure his legacy This book was a constant struggle to write Binet tries to adhere to his own self imposed rules He questions everything he has written He wants to do it right His perspective outside of the novel shifts I can relate to that I question my life all the time Why do I do this Why don t I do that Is what I write really worthwhile Will someone see through the facade and ridicule me Am I worthy of the subject When I watch the news, when I read the paper, when I meet people, when I hang out with friends and acquaintances, when I see how each of us struggles, as best we can, through life s absurd meanderings, I think that the world is ridiculous, moving, and cruel The same is true of this book the story is cruel, the protagonists are moving, and I am ridiculous But I am in Prague I am frequently ridiculous.I want to close with one last quote from Binet about the responsibility that writers feel for those they leave in the shadows Worn out by my muddled efforts to salute these people, I tremble with guilt at the thought of all those hundreds, those thousands, whom I have allowed to die in anonymity But I want to believe that people exist even if we don t speak of them Sometimes though, a writer can pluck a person, let s say one who is buried in an unmarked grave with 33,771 other Jews in Kiev, and sheath him in flesh, pump blood into his veins, and free his tongue so he can tell a story left untold If you wish to see of my most recent book and movie reviews, visithttp www.jeffreykeeten.comI also have a Facebook blogger page at


  2. says:

    May, 4th, 1942 the Heydrich residence After filling their bellies with Venison steaks, Heydrich, Himmler and Goebbels are sat around the table playing cards, Lina Heydrich brings in a tray on which sits a large bottle of brandy, three glasses and a box of cigars Don t wait up for me Reinhard dear, I am off to the theatre, Have fun boys Heydrich switches on the gramophone, and Schubert is a feast on the ears, the evening is in full swing Both Himmler and Goebbels are blind drunk within the hour and start to wind up Heydrich on his marital problems So, Reinhard, word is your old lady has been seeing the F hrer behind your back What is it, can t get it up laughter That s a damn lie I tell you how dare you smear my name HOW DARE YOU , Sometimes I struggle to perform in the bedroom, it s the stress of this bloody war , but me and my wife couldn t be happier OK calm down, we were only having a little fun Fun , you call that fun, us Nazis were not put on this earth to have fun, get out , get out the pair of you Lina returns in the early hours and enters the bedroom, and hears what sounds like a little girl sobbing, she turns on the light, my darling, what is the matter, why are you shaking Lina, I had the most horrible nightmare , a month from now I am going to die at the hands of assassins , Lina moves closer, her eyes avert from the tearful Heydrich to the sheets, Oh Reinhard, you wussy, you have only gone and wet the bed Historically accurate , of course not, I just made it up, I couldn t resist the temptation after learning just how evil a man Heydrich actually was That s the great thing about fiction, when dealing with the facts, in this case WW2, the little things can t be 100% certain unless you were there in person, how do you go about filling in the gaps , easy, you just guess, but make it seem believable, that s the problem Binet faced in writing this genius book It s based on a true story, real names, real facts, but still reads like a suspense thriller after he adds his own interpretations on the finer details of history.Back to Heydrich on a serious note, I forgot what he looked like not that it s a face I want to remember so googled him, to think what this man did , and what he witnessed with those cold and calculated eyes Hope he eternally burns in hell Now on to the bookA brilliant novel , with a great story that also happens to be true, by a gifted French writer amusingly anguished over the question of how to tell it There s nothing not to like about Laurent Binet s acclaimed debut, and HHhH is certainly a thoroughly captivating performance, the last 50 or so pageswow Whether you find it something than that will depend on how you feel about the application of a book about the Nazi security chief Reinhard Heydrich, who must be one of the most unfunny, truly evil, and hated figures in recorded history But I like to think of this book for it s hero s than for it s Nazi villains, two brave souls who knew there was a great chance of not returning alive from their daring mission to take the bastard Heydrich out It s about his assassination, specifically, and the undersung Czech resistance heroes who carried it out an angle that licenses a certain jauntiness in the tone Heydrich s icily demonic character dominates the book, until the Czech heroes are slowly woken in to the story Heydrich and his pivotal roles in the key atrocities of the era, from Kristallnacht to the final solution itself, take up a substantial part of the narrative And it s chilling stuff The narrative is enlightened by Binet s playful anxieties about his girlfriend, mulling over his dreams, or even by his obviously pertinent struggles over whether to invent the dialogue, or imagine the inner thoughts of his characters And there are outbursts of opinion which really bother him, when trying to tie up lose ends Was Heydrich s Mercedes black or green Where about s did the parachutists land , Which side of the train did the head of Czechoslovak secret services sit on during his clandestine trip through Germany EtcIncluded there are nods to films and books that inspired Binet along the way, this work wouldn t have been the same without them, adding a freshness to a WW2 novel, as it s one of the most written about subjects ever A subject that can sometimes be boring, not this The book builds up to it s climactic Operation Anthropoid scenes involving our heroes Gab k and Kubi , that the best thriller writers would have been proud of It s a plan that doesn t go according to plan, but still ends up getting results There are crucial logistical points to be reckoned with, such as the topography of Prague streets or the disconcerting jamming tendency of the British built Sten gun, which got stuck at the vital moment Binet manages it all with stunning lucidity, and by the time I reached the devastating finale, the deepest of feelings had set in, I felt like lighting a candle for the incredibly brave men that risked all to take down such a huge figure in the Third Reich.As for the Butcher of Prague or the Blonde Beast as he liked to be known, I hope he died in a lot of pain He thoroughly deserved it.


  3. says:

    Let me tell you a story A true story A story that you might know, but only in passing.This story took place in World War II To be exact, it was a mission No, not a mission Destiny, rather, of our heroes Amongst numerous missions that were carried out in the War, this one should rank within the top 10 most important ones, in my opinion And I have read about all the major ones.So, let me tell you about this book Laurent Binet, the author, has named it HHhH.What does HHhH mean It means this.You definitely know the chicken farmer This is him.Meet his brain.Reinhard Heydrich Founder of SD.Know about SD SD Sicherheitsdienst, the security service within the SS The least known and the most sinister of all Nazi organizations Including the Gestapo.He also invented the badge that had to be worn by Jews, at all times Even if the Jews are eliminated from economic life, the main problem remains We must kick the Jews out of Germany In the meantime, he suggests, we should make them wear some kind of sign so they can be easily recognized A uniform shouts G ring, always fond of anything to do with clothing I was thinking of a badge, actually, Heydrich replies.Heydrich aka the most dangerous man in the Third Reich, the Hangman of Prague, the Butcher, the Blond Beast, the Man with the Iron Heart And oh the last name was given to Heydrich by him And this was Heydrich s assistant.The man that freed the Reich from around 6 million people of a particular race and many .So, now do you realize how dangerous Heydrich was No Read some .So, after the Chicken Farmer fainted on one occasion while attending one of the mass executions in which guns were used, Heydrich designed a covert way to carry out the cleansing Gas Chambers Of course they were preceded by CO carbon monoxide gassing from truck exhausts in enclosed interiors Now if you still have any doubt about Heydrich s shrewdness and cruelty, Binet would convince you otherwise According to Laurent Binet, Heydrich, at the height of Reich s power, stated to one of his minions that the war was lost So peace talks should be carried out with the Allies.You don t think that is significant enough Read along.Assume this scenario Third Reich is at its peak and seems invincible Most of the Europe has fallen USSR is falling UK is stranded USA is far away and busy dealing with the Japanese And if at this time, Reich talks about peace, what are you going to do as an Allied power Think about it 8 out of 10 times you are going to accept their terms And BOOM Heydrich saves the Third Reich Yes, Hitler would have never dreamed about talking peace at the height of his power But just for the simple reason that he was a colossal idiot To our good fortune But had Heydrich lived long enough, experts suggest that he might have tried to topple Hitler and become the Fuhrer himself Then, peace talks and then 1000 years of rule of the Reich A world full of the purest of the pure human beings But you say that is just speculation, eh Okay, fair enough But let me tell you some facts about the Blonde Beast.The Wannsee Conference, where, on January 20, 1942, in only a few hours, Heydrich and his assistant Eichmann set down the methods of enforcing the Final Solution It is in Poland that Heydrich unveils his most devilish creation The Einsatzgruppen are special SS troops, made up of SD and Gestapo members, whose job is to clean up the zones occupied by the Wehrmacht Each unit is given a little booklet containing the necessary information in tiny characters, on extrathin paper, is a list of all those who must be liquidated as the country is occupied Not only Communists but also teachers, writers, journalists, priests, industrialists, bankers, civil servants, merchants, wealthy farmers everyone of any note Thousands of names are listed, with their addresses and telephone numbers, plus a list of known acquaintances in case these subversive elements attempt to take refuge with parents or friends Each name is accompanied by a physical description and sometimes even a photo Heydrich s information services have already achieved an impressive level of efficiency.This was his information provider. a particular ahem. solutions provider company.Enough about the devil.Now, let me introduce you to our heroes.Gab k was a Slovak, and Kubi was a Czech.And their destiny would take them to Prague.Their mission Operation Anthropoid.Operation Anthropoid Kill Heydrich.Now before we get any further, let me tell you how badass our heroes were.Meet another Nazi killer Him.Right But, in our case,And I am being conservative about this.I compared these two with a fictional character on purpose Two reasons First It would be inappropriate to compare them with any real war heroes like them And Second It would be mighty difficult to find someone to compare them with.Anyway, let s move on Shall we So, while their country was under the Nazi Jackboot, Jozef Gab k and Jan Kubi flew from the UK and parachuted into Czechoslovakia to assassinate Heydrich Time was short Apparently, Charlie Ch. umm Adolf Hitler had already made future plans for Heydrich to take over the cleansing of the French resistance Now, heroes that they were, they had to create some excitement for posterity and hence decided to kill the Blonde Beast on the last day that he was to leave for Berlin and then eventually for France Did they succeed in their mission That is not a spoiler, really Google could tell you that in 0.05 seconds But the real story is much bigger than that Did they survive How If yes, for how long Was there a real life traitor amongst their ranks What did the Nazis do How many Nazis did they eventually kill And what were the repercussions of their mission Read HHhH for that.Laurent Binet has used an unique style to tell this story You almost feel that Binet is sitting right across you and telling you about the events that took place Or precisely, he takes you to that particular place and then describes that event while it is in motion In short, the book is so meta A non fiction book, in case you might forget about that.And he frequently denies something he might have said in the previous chapter in the next one So, an unreliable narrator in a history book There are 257 chapters in the whole book In a total of 400 odd pages.Why, you ask Because this is how some of his chapters look like.Chapter 147 So, to cut a long story short, they jumped Fin du chapitre. True, some might not like the style in which this book is written But this is much than just a book This is an homage to the heroes who are almost unknown outside their own countries.Read about them.


  4. says:

    No, it s not invented What would be the point of inventing Nazism Laurent Binet s novel HHhH is actually two stories in one Firstly, it s an exciting thriller and suspenseful novel about the assassination of Protector of Bohemia and Moravia, Himmler s right hand or brain according to the title of the novel, Reinhard Heydrich Novel is packed with well known names from Nazi high echelons, in brief retrospectives Binet recaps events which led to Hitler s accession to power, growth of anti Semitism, birth of the idea of Final Solution and bringing it to existence to assassination on Heydrich and it devastatingly disastrous aftermath While I knew most of these facts, oddly, the names of assassins were alien to me Jan Kubi and Jozef Gab k, Czech and Slovak, what I find not only touching and symbolic but also important as a sign of solidarity and attempt to overcome longtime animosity between these two nations Secondly, HHhH is a novel about writing a novel, about the tribulations of the writer chasing his youthful dream when he first heard about the attack on the Butcher of Prague It s about collecting materials, visiting sites, picking up memorabilia, anecdotes, digging in archives and libraries, about people he met in the course of that search This is a thing about the torments of creation and writing process, of filling the gaps there where reliable sources don t exist, of frustrating and confusing facts there were three different people called Moravec but one, what a relief, Moravek , of obsessive delving into details was Heydrich s Mercedes dark green or was it black This kind of narrative, that jumping from Nazi Germany to the present day to describe the personal struggles with still expanding material some readers found as it biggest weakness, the kind of crack, the author s attempt to establish himself as an equal protagonist of described events But I do not think so.I thought it was brilliant Thanks to it the novel gained personal, intimate character And a new perspective Binet did not write a history textbook, right , and therefore could afford for a lot of personal, emotional sallies towards politicians When he describes appeasement policy and The Munich Agreement , cowardice of the French minister Daladier or lack of moral backbone and blindness of Chamberlain, when he calls them vile we do feel his anger and contempt It is hard to blame him for that, right Was turning a blind eye to subsequent requests of Hitler, sacrificing another countries the Anschluss of Austria, Sudetenland, the establishment of the province of Slovakia with puppet government , leaving the Czech and then Polish to themselves supposed to save the world from the next conflict Satisfy Hitler s appetite Binet is not the subtle one in his accusations, when he senses shit he doesn t pretend it smells like perfume Let the history prove who was right and who was wrong, judge the guilty but he, the author, has the last word He is neither historian nor diplomat and while trying to remain faithful to historic events he allows himself to be snarky And unsure And in awe To me strength and innovation of that novel lies just in its structure and the duality of the narrative Two complementary and interrelated, parallel threads record of historical facts mixed with author s reflections on writing historical book And it perfectly worked here Not only brought to life people and places but also allowed Binet to show his admiration, feel the compassion, yell out his wrath And save all these brave people from oblivion Here ends my proper review but I wanted yet to share this anecdote with you Mariusz Szczygie , Polish journalist and avid admirer of Czech people, their country and culture, author of collections of great reportages about our south neighbors Gottland Mostly True Stories from Half of Czechoslovakia, Make Yourself a Paradise had once conversation about heroism with Czech taxi driver It went or less like that TD You, Poles, probably despise us a bit MSz I for sure do not, sir, The Czech Resistance killed Hitler s favourite, Heydrich It is certainly the heroism TD But what is the claim to fame Heydrich traveled in an unarmoured, open top vehicle so it was easier to hit him.Msz But you got him TD That s an overstatement He drove without any escort and the route was not guarded by any patrols.MSz But he did not survive TD Just because he himself eased that task As the first assassin tried to shoot him, Heydrich instead of running gave the order to stop the car MSz But still you killed him.TD But it is not so certain, the gun of the first assassin misfired and the second one had to throw grenade toward the car.MSz Well, and thanks to it you slew the right hand of Hitler.TD There s no need to exaggeration Heydrich did not even defend himself He jumped out of the car and wanted to shoot but it turned out that in his gun was not the magazine.MSz But you managed to kill him TD Why, no He died a week later in hospital From sepsis.And on that Szczygie could only state that it is not an easy thing to make a heroic act in the Czech Republic I love that anecdote because it speaks something not only about our neighbors but also about Polish When we are whole pathos and ethos Czechs love absurd and dark humour And nation which can laugh at themselves will never lose.


  5. says:

    REVIEW SHORT VERSIONThis is a hell of a story, told very engagingly The last 50 pages are agonizing and heroic and you won t forget them Recommended.REVIEW LONG VERSION A QUESTION OF DEFINITIONIf I waddled around in an elaborate penguin costume loudly proclaiming that I was a penguin while swallowing fish whole, it wouldn t make me a penguin Even if I got all my friends to violently nod their heads and point at me and say yes, he s a great old penguin, that one, sure he is Even if I took a plane to Antarctica and joined one of the vast throngs of penguins there, and you filmed me David Attenborough style, creeping up on me real close while I was looking after my egg which I got a friend to make for me before I came, looks pretty realistic, I still wouldn t be a penguin Whatever everybody the author, all the critics, and every last review says, this is not a novel But Mr Binet persuaded the entire universe to go along with his penguin impersonation And before him, other books have done this too Bartleby Co a long biographical essay about writers not a novel Problems, The Wallcreeper, Love Me Back, What is the What and a zillion others memoirs, not novels The Pale King a random collection of experimental writings, not a novelNone of HHhH is fictitious, it s either the precise historical information about the events leading to the assassination of one of the all time hall of fame Nazi bastards Reinhard Heydrich presented in a refreshing casual conversational style anyway, let s talk about something else he says at one point but still accurate getting the details right is one of the main things LB agonises over or it s LB s personal commentary about how he got this book written and the research he did and the problems he found, including such hilarious stuff as telling us that he should have bought a particular book online from since it was Heydrich s widow s memoir pretty relevant but he didn t because it was too pricey and in the wrong language Several pages later he tells us he finally did get it This whole kind of jokey but really, about such a grisly no joke subject self dramatising angst ridden approach is exactly the same as a brilliant book by Geoff Dyer called Out of Sheer Rage , an account of how he didn t write a book about DH Lawrence Geoff could have called his book a novel, but for some reason he didn t Oh wait, that would be because it wasn t a novel.What about historical novels like Schindler s Ark, I Claudius, Wolf Hall, etc Well in those you can see all the novelistic art, the dialogues, the plotting, the inhabiting of the famous person s brain and so forth so yes, they are novels.SOME QUOTES Unbelievable I ve just found another book about the assassination It s called Like a Man and it s by a certain David Chacko The book is extremely well researched I get the impression the author has utilized everything currently known about Heydrich and the attack LB discusses this novel for a page, pointing out some stuff Chacko made up completely e.g some sexual scenes He s a skillful cheat A trickster Well a novelist, basically as opposed to LB himself If this were a novel I would have absolutely no need for Valcik He is of an encumbrance than anything else so, it s not a novel I don t even know how they reacted when they heard about Heydrich s death, although that ought to make one of the best bits of my book.My story has as many holes in it as a novel But in an ordinary novel, it is the novelist who decides where these holes should occur Because I am a slave to my scruples, I m incapable of making that decision. so, it s not LAST MINUTE UPRUSH OF STARSAround two thirds the way through I was getting a little tired of Mr Binet s posturings look at me having problems writing my book, let me tell you all about them and frankly this is way too horrible a subject to be parading like a loud peacock with a tail of woe just shut up and get on with it but the last third gets a mighty grip as the assassination plan springs into life and all of what followed makes this almost a must read, swerved the rating from a huffy 2.5 stars to a confident 4 stars.


  6. says:

    One night while he was researching this book, Laurent Binet dreamt he was writing the key chapter In the dream, he begins with a description of a black Mercedes sliding through the streets of Prague like a racer snake, slipping behind a building here, emerging from a tunnel there, but moving all the while towards the sharp bend between Vy ehradska street and Troji ka street where two armed men await its arrival.That same black Mercedes has a star role in the final version of the book too It shows up on one page, disappears on another, re emerges further on but note this it changes colour along the way from black to dark green Binet is very concerned with getting the facts right the colour of the car that Himmler s second in command, Reinhard Heydrich, was travelling in on the 27th of May 1942, matters It must not be described as black if there s any chance that it was really green The story of the black green Mercedes summarises the dilemma that makes reading this book so interesting On the one hand, Binet enjoys making the car slither through the streets of Prague like a viper He d like to add lots of details to his scenario what Heydrich had for breakfast that morning, what he was thinking about as he left his home, what he said to his chauffeur as the car wound its way through the streets of the old city On the other hand, Binet wants to deal only in facts, the colour of the car and the exact time it reached the corner of Vy ehradska and Troji ka He wants to leave his imaginings where they belong in the realm of fiction After all, he points out, who could make up the Nazis Who could make up the final solution Nevertheless, Binet reluctantly recognises that fictionalised history succeeds better with readers than fact based history writing He offers us entertaining commentary on the many novels about WWII he has read, and the ones that focus on the Prague assasination attempt in particular He s both fascinated and horrified by the way authors have dramatized this episode in history His fascination encourages him to insert fictionalised passages into his own account, passages that draw the reader right in so that we immediately forget everything he s already said about preferring to stick to the facts Then, when we re comfortably wallowing in the warm water of his imaginings, he pulls the plug, leaving us shivering and confused No, it couldn t have been like that he says, because since I wrote that, I discovered this and this, and anyway, no one can truly say how it was, any attempt to guess just becomes artificial.So why doesn t he delete such passages, you might ask If he feels it sounds artificial or if he s found new information, surely he should rewrite the scene But that s exactly where this book differs from most other books Binet s account is a process as much as a finished product and every part of the process is included He skillfully drives his narrative towards a satisfactory conclusion, but he insists on taking us on a huge detour along the way, a detour that includes the history of everything related to his journey, and the many cul de sacs he encountered along the way And the marvellous thing is that all the detours, all the accumulated journey notes, only serve to frame perfectly the horrific background to the attempt on the life of Reinhard Heydrich, Reichsprotektor of Bohemia and Moravia, and originator of the final solution , by two intrepid Czech Resistence fighters, Jan Kubi and Jozef Gab k I wouldn t want Binet to delete a single word.


  7. says:

    To HHhH, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , .


  8. says:

    I am addicted to reading about the history of WWII and I really wanted to like this book Binet s book however frustrated me The constant insertion of the author into the text and his continuous use of the word I was incredibly distracting Who was this book about precisely, the author or Heydrich The purported topic, Heydrich was interesting, the author s pathos Not so much His short chapter format consisting of 257 chapters, some of which were only a few sentences long, resulted in a choppy, stilted flow His constant debunking of historical novels, and their fictionalized aspects, gets a bit tired, but I found his statement that, I am struck all the same by the fact that, in every case, fiction wins out over history, provocative But I also was then, confused by his many discussions of Hollywood movies about the era and his continuous insertion of fictionalized vignettes that he explained were to serve as examples of how he wasn t fictionalizing One senses he is really fascinated with historical fictionalized accounts but thinks he is doing something far superior I think he may not have achieved this goal.He is an interesting, intelligent man, and this should have been a better book If you want a recommendation for a riveting read on the era, try, Endgame, 1945 The Missing Final Chapter of World War II, by David Stafford.


  9. says:

    Binet has written the world s first and please God the last metafictional Nazi thriller As one who baulks at the WW2 novel how pass is the war been there, done that, babe , Binet s self commenting novel about a novel is a refreshing addition to the legions of prize winning tomes about lesser known Nazis and atrocities Heydrich is the topic a high ranking Nazi who could have been up there with Himmler and Goebbels on the mass murdering psychopaths whose names are forever etched into history as avatars of ideological evil stakes, but was assassinated by two Czech heroes Jan Kubi and Jozef Gab k during Operation Anthropoid Binet s novel is a compelling historical narrative, but what is refreshing in HHhH is his unashamed anger how many historians are tempted to insert bloody motherfucking murdering before the word Nazis as they hold their quaking pens Binet mingles his own anxieties about composing his novel and the impossible task of being authentic to history, although the simple derring do of the Czechs ends up providing the narrative momentum Binet has perhaps opened up a new kind of historical book one where the author s conflicts and opinions and neuroses about history are intertwined with the events themselves for history as emotive as this, these perspectives and internal conflicts are a fascinating rush of human insight.


  10. says:

    So, what is this exactly It has won awards for fiction and the author calls it a novel, except when he says, If this were a novel The author intrudes, is a character he is an author researching and writing about the May 27, 1942 assassination attempt by two Czechoslovakian parachutists against Reinhard Heydrich aka The Blond Beast, the Acting Reich Protectorate, the Hangman of Prague, the most dangerous man in the Third Reich The title comes from another descriptor Himmlers Hirn hei t Heydrich Himmler s brain is called Heydrich But first, as a shrill voiced child, he was nicknamed the Goat At this point in his life, it is still possible to mock him without risking death But it is during this delicate period of childhood that one learns resentment.The author, as character, is obsessed, inter alia, with the accuracy of the smallest detail And so it reads as history Yet, the historian here does not hide his rooting interest Each character, not just Heydrich, is checked off good guy, bad guy, good guy, bad guy There is less said about the two would be assassins, certainly not because the author likes them less than Heydrich rather because there is just less written or known about them And the author means to be precise If this were a novel, he says, he could imagine scenes and conversations But sometimes one certain anecdote serves well as a counterpoise to the much copious depravity The two parachutists are about to board the plane that will take them back to their homeland and their murderous appointment when one of them, the Slovak Gab k, stops and wants a word in private with the Colonel Well, that s it, the Colonel thinks, the young man is having second thoughts and will want to withdraw, aborting the mission Gab k begins Colonel, I m very embarrassed to ask this Oh, no But then this young man, on an almost certain suicide mission, says, I ve left an unpaid bill for ten pounds at our restaurant Could you possibly pay it for me Enough to know, isn t it Good guys The men in black spread out like spiders Except that they don t climb the walls only the echo of their footsteps does that, ringing out and ricocheting off the high stone surfaces. Bad guys.So, after all, does it matter if this is history or fiction or some hybrid historical fiction The style is unique, but there are close cousins Flaubert s Parrot by Barnes Haussmann, or the Distinction by La Farge Maybe even Tennozan by George Feifer And, really, maybe it s the reading that makes a writing a novel a restaurant menu, a fantasy football lineup, even this review I m about to end this, typing in a hotel bar good service, nice wood Two stools down, she leans towards the bartender and says Gin Three letters, and she still manages an accent No, that s not what happened What happened is that I read something brilliant, no matter the genre It s a moment in time And in this book we learn how men and women got there and how we ve wandered since We learn above all that Truth matters There are no page numbers in my edition of this book But the chapters are numbered I think you should read all of chapter 147 So, to make a long story short, they jumped.


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