I began the week, Sunday morning, with only fifty pages left to read. When I get this close to the end of a book, a good book, I have been known to drop almost everything and read.
This week it only happened today. Now that my talk on Sunday has been given, 3 different staff meetings have been attended and dinner for 15 people is behind me, today I “resigned” from everything, sat and read until I finished the book.
Lenz so very cleverly manages to paint a universal tale by telling a very personal tale, rich with details. He deals with the extremely hot rod of a subject of defining homeland, of the beauty and dangers of patriotism and the price of rewriting history. Although one recognizes World War 1 and 2, he does not give time-lines or maps. In fact he does not directly name things you would expect
If I said, when reading part one, that parts of the book reminded me of an Emir Kusturica film, the second part reminded me at times of the POWERFUL movie “The White Ribbon” (Michael Haneke, the one who just won an Oscar for “Amour”). The final 50 pages are dramatic. While the book opens with the fact that the hero burned down The Heritage Museum, and all through the book one has suspicions, but only at the very end does Lenz make it crystal clear why it was done.
A book that highlights the power of understatement.
Off to the library tomorrow – holiday coming!