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HHhH by Laurent Binet


by Laurent Binet

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,490977,620 (3.91)134
  1. 91
    The Kindly Ones by Jonathan Littell (yokai)
  2. 41
    Mendelssohn Is on the Roof by Jiří Weil (gust)
  3. 10
    Resistance by Gerald Brennan (atbradley)
  4. 10
    The Messenger by Yannick Haenel (yokai)
  5. 10
    Hitler's Hangman: The Life of Heydrich by Robert Gerwarth (meggyweg)
  6. 00
    Seven Men at Daybreak by Alan Burgess (sneuper)
    sneuper: Both books are about the assassination of Heydrich. Binet uses Burgess’s book as source.
  7. 00
    The Killing of SS Obergruppenführer Reinhard Heydrich by Callum Macdonald (sneuper)
  8. 00
    Like A Man by David Chacko (sneuper)
    sneuper: Both books are about the assassination of Heydrich. Binet used Chacko’s book as source.
  9. 00
    Walhalla-Code: Kriminalroman by Uwe Klausner (passion4reading)
    passion4reading: A work of historical crime fiction, this nevertheless has Heydrich's assassination at its heart and deals with some of the fallout, both factual and fictitious.
  10. 11
    The Feast of the Goat by Mario Vargas Llosa (gust)
    gust: Ook hier verzetsleden die een dictator doden.
  11. 00
    Fatherland by Robert Harris (karatelpek)
    karatelpek: Alternative History-HHhH is a key supporting character in Harris' dystopian future.

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» See also 134 mentions

English (62)  Dutch (17)  Spanish (7)  French (6)  Danish (2)  Catalan (1)  Italian (1)  Finnish (1)  All languages (97)
Showing 1-5 of 62 (next | show all)
A metafictional historical thriller set around the true story of the killing of Reinhard Heydrich, a particularly evil high ranking Nazi. Simultaneously telling the story in as factually an accurate way as possible, the author also comments on the nature of trying to write about true events, and comments on the role of memory in both fiction and life. This is a daring conceit, and while it does not work all the time, the author supports his thesis enough to make the book an interesting and thought provoking read. ( )
  AlanGilbert | Mar 10, 2019 |
Jean Echenoz's novel Lightning rested close to my mind's eye as I crept through HHhH. Much as Echenoz created an almost strophic life of Tesla which still hummed like one of the Serb's coils, Binet addresses the assassination of Heydrich in Prague during the Second World War. Binet begins his account with a constant rapping of the fourth wall and an incessant imploring of his disgust with description in novels, apparently Binet also loathes historical fiction; why shove dramatic words into real people, he muses? No, the author coy follows such discipline and then lapses poetic: what follows is Binet revealing, retreating, reframing.

It is difficult to explain, but many books serve as platforms to settle scores. This is one of them. Early in the book The Kindly Ones is taken to ask for its gory glorification and the installation of a 21st Century nihilist perspective into the SS. Unexpectedly, Binet finds the voice of History itslf in Bill Vollmann's Europe Central.

Still, for someone so righteous about facts, i find it odd that he mentions the postwar life of Simone Weil, as well as the fact she survived Aushwitz. Maybe there are other Simone Weils? ( )
  jonfaith | Feb 22, 2019 |
What is the obsession with Reinhard Heydrich? I suppose it must be that Himmler’s right hand man in the SS was the highest ranking Nazi to be assassinated during WWII. An architect of the Holocaust, force behind the Einsatzgruppen paramilitary death squads, and Deputy Reich Protector of the largely Czech Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia. Arguably the intended successor to Adolf Hitler. WWII alternate history aficionados ever since find it convenient to thwart his assassination, establishing for him a prominent role in a new timeline. Witness Amazon’s production of The Man in the High Castle or Robert Harris’ Fatherland for two recent examples.

This book is hard to characterize, and in the hands of a lesser author, would have been a mess. It is part biography of Heydrich, part thriller as we follow the heroes Jozef Gabčík and Jan Kubiš as they parachute toward destiny and near-certain death in Nazi-controlled Prague. But in Binet’s hands, HHhH (acronym from the German meaning “Himmler's brain is called Heydrich”), is also meta-historical meditation on writing history, personal memoir of Binet himself, travelogue as the author researches his book: in other words, this book has a unique structure and an idiosyncratic plan, and I am happy to say that he pulls it off gloriously. ( )
  stellarexplorer | Jan 5, 2019 |
Reinhard Heydrich..."the most dangerous man in the Third Reich, the Hangman of Prague, the Butcher, the Blond Beast, the Goat"....has an unenviable reputation of being one of the most vicious and ruthless Nazi thugs during the second world war. As well as being a master swordsman, an accomplished violinist, he was equally up to the task of murder, genocide and the removal of any human being that did not conform to the Aryan idea of the master race.

HHhH by Lauren Binet creates a fictional account, from the known facts, of the events leading up to and including the death of Obergruppenführer Reinhard Heydrich in Prague on June 4th 1942. It is an unusual book written in a very readable style and as an introduction to the world of this ruthless man makes a worthwhile contribution. I particularly enjoyed (if this is the correct term) the tension and the build up to the to the assassination by two specially trained agents, Jozek Gabcik and Jan Kubis. The aftermath and reprisals of the Nazis was a heartless and cowardly way to break the will of the Czech populace reminding them of their need for subservience to the mighty German overlord. ( )
  runner56 | Oct 4, 2018 |
This book is based on the true events of the assassination attempt of Reinhard Heydrich an Nazi secret service chief.
Heydrich is in charge of the Czech Republic in operations in 1942.

The RAF train two men Jozef Gabcik a Slovakian and Jan Kubis a Czech to parachute into Prague and kill Heydrich.
As the war intensifies the crimes the Nazis commit get worse and worse.
There are lots of spies and double agents.

Gabcik and Kubis seize their chance but it doesn't go according all go according to plan, Heydrich does die in hospital though.

The Nazis are out for revenge and wipe out entire towns and villages.
Gabcik and Kubis and some comrades escape hide in a church one of their so called friends grasses them up to the Nazis and there is a big shoot out.
This book is written in a funny way, the writer tells the story and explains his research along the way it is well written and researched. ( )
  Daftboy1 | May 16, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 62 (next | show all)
Precies dit soort terzijdes maakt Binets roman zo aantrekkelijk. Hij is, als kind van deze tijd, voortdurend in discussie met wat er om hem heen gebeurt, hij beschrijft waarom de toedracht van de aanslag hem fascineert, maar meldt ook hoe het hem persoonlijk vergaat, hoe hij vast komt te zitten en worstelt om verder te komen. Hij schrijft op wat zijn meelezers tegen hem zeggen en betrekt de lezer bij de totstandkoming van zijn spannende roman.
Het debuut van Laurent Binet (1972) is niet gewoon bijzonder. Het is subliem. (...) Pas wanneer we in HhhH Heydrich en de situatie in Tsjechië goed in beeld hebben, verschijnen de helden ten tonele. De roman begint trekjes te vertonen van Tarantino's film Inglourious Basterds, zij het dat dit wél echt is gebeurd. Het wordt opeens razend spannend en leest supersnel. (...) Ondanks zijn voornemen niets te willen verzinnen om de mensen die in zijn boek voorkomen zoveel mogelijk recht te doen, heeft Binet een modus gevonden om prachtige literatuur te maken van deze bizarre episode uit de geschiedenis. Het concept van de historische roman heeft bij hem een nieuwe invulling gekregen.
added by sneuper | editde Volkskrant, Wineke de Boer (Jan 29, 2011)

» Add other authors (5 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Binet, Laurentprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Botto, MargheritaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Corral, RodrigoCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Elewa, AdlyCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kagan, AbbyDesignersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Nes, Liesbeth vanTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Taylor, SamTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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HHhH (2017IMDb)
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Once again, the writer stains the tree of History with his thoughts, but it is not for us to find the trick that would enable us to put the animal back in its carrying cage.

—Osip Mandelstam, "The End of the Novel"
First words
Gabčík—that's his name—really did exist.
What would be the point of 'inventing' Nazism?
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References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (3)

Book description
Two men have been enlisted to kill the head of the Gestapo. This is Operation Anthropoid, Prague, 1942: two Czechoslovakian parachutists sent on a daring mission by London to assassinate Reinhard Heydrich, chief of the Nazi secret services, 'the hangman of Prague'. 'the blond beast', 'the most dangerous man in the Third Reich'.

His boss is Heinrich Himmler but everyone in the SS says 'Himmler's brain is called Heydrich', which in German spells HHhH.

All the characters in HHhH are real. All the events depicted are true. But alongside the nerve-shredding preparations for the attack runs another story: when you are a novelist writing about real people, how do you resist the temptation to make things up?

HHhH is a panorama of the Third Reich told through the life on one outstandingly brutal man, a story of unbearable heroism and loyalty, revenge and betrayal. It is improbably entertaining and electrifying modern, a moving and shattering work of fiction.
Haiku summary
A Slovak and a
Czech carefully plan Heydrich's
Jozef Gabĉík and
Jan Kubiŝ – remember their
names and bravery.

No descriptions found.

(see all 3 descriptions)

Imagines the story of two Czechoslovakian partisans responsible for assassinating the "Butcher of Prague" Reinhard Heydrich, traces their escape from the Nazis and recruitment by the British secret service.

» see all 6 descriptions

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