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HHhH : roman by Laurent Binet
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HHhH : roman (edition 2009)

by Laurent Binet

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956769,073 (3.9)83
Member:Me2si
Title:HHhH : roman
Authors:Laurent Binet
Info:Paris : Bernard Grasset, c2009.
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
Tags:None

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HHhH by Laurent Binet

Recently added byprivate library, brigittedk, BLBera, priamel, soapycat, vnesting, kaggsy, IamAleem
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English (48)  Dutch (15)  Spanish (6)  French (4)  Danish (2)  All languages (75)
Showing 1-5 of 48 (next | show all)
A tale of World War II Prague, I figured it was my kind of thing. Even with jacket blurbs by Easton Ellis, Amis, McCann, Lodge and Shteyngart (among others) I found it to be just OK. I enjoyed it more as it progressed but, in the end, wasn't blown away by it - as it were. ( )
  heggiep | Oct 11, 2014 |
An interesting, but sometimes frustrating personal view on the assassination of Reinhard Heydrich, the Butcher of Prague.

Like the author I have been fascinated by this story particularly after visiting Prague in the early 80s when it still had that 1940's feel about it. I should also point out that one of favourite films is "Operation Daybreak" based on the Anthony Burgess book "Seven Men at Daybreak". The film surprisingly doesn't get a mention.

Whilst the story of Operation Anthropoid has been told many times, Binet trys to put a personal view from his discovery of the story through to his imaginings of the participants.

Whilst this technique works up to a point I did find frustrating the times he states what sounds like fact in one chapter, to then say something along the lines of "oh no that isn't quite correct, it's now this...".

This book is a bit like marmite, some will hate it, and for a very good solid account I'd recommend [b:The Assassination of Reinhard Heydrich|19279623|The Assassination of Reinhard Heydrich|Callum MacDonald|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1386478283s/19279623.jpg|27327367] by Callum Macdonald.



( )
  mancmilhist | Aug 28, 2014 |
To get away with constant metafictional intrusions and backtracks and historigraphical excursions and surprisethatdidntreallyhappens and thatdetailringsfalselemmejustgetthatforyas like Binet does, you have to be not only smart (of course), but either really really funny or really really sincere. And since this is a book about Nazis, that pretty much leaves only the latter. Binet manages both--tells the parallel stories of Gabčik and Kubiš and of Heydrich, aka the Blond Beast, aka to his little fucking German classmates "Süss the Jew" because there's no loathing like self-loathing (he was not, in fact, Jewish, but well, clearly Heydrich is gonna have a head full of burn-the-world-down about it, you know?) with appropriate hero worship (but thoughtful) and appalled (but still thoughtful) execration, respectively--the healthy horror of the healthy mind in a healthy body who hits the gym and has a couple glasses of wine a night and has regrets about his lost Slovak love but not like cut-your-wrists regrets. you know? Binet is very clever and very well adjusted and just seems like a nice guy, and that's the only reason we tolerate all the dicking around he does of us. I mean, I do; I see others quibble. I like nice guys.

Anyway, there is an obsessive but not so much that it's aesthetically displeasing, let us say "painterly," level of detail about the target and the leadup and most of it seems actually actual, and really if this is the kind of book you're reading to learn about Heydrich you don't care if you get a few salient details wrong, or I guess I mean if a few of the wrong details strike you as salient. You know? I'm not gonna read Group Captain Archibald Baldarchison's The Guns They Carried. I thought interesting thoughts about how weird-quixotic it is that we try to "get inside" history, but what a piece of shit history would be if we couldn't, and the moments leading up to the assassination and the aftermath (Lidice is slighted, in a way, but it's a story that almost asks to be slighted. Everyone died. No, no reason. To spend too long learning about all their lives and loves so you can feel maudlin and not just sick about it almost lets their SS murderers off the hook). The time-stands-still stuff, the how-did-i-get-here-this-is-not-my-beautiful-wife only it really isn't it's actually you just tried to kill Heydrich and your piece of shit Sten gun jammed and now you're looking at him and he's looking at you and a bird is shitting on his towncar and the kid on the other side of the tram just let go of his balloon and this is your life--that stuff was deeply skilled, a flight of literary artistry that Binet spent the whole book working himself up for. He's not a genius but I bet if you met him you'd think wow this guy is good at everything and he's totally going home with the really pretty tall girl, isn't he.

Gabčik and Kubiš have a bit of that to them too, maybe why Binet likes them. They shook the thrones of the mighty. Their last stand was brave. Doing a little 200-page writeup to remind people of that and also what slavering monsters actually took over a whole huge European country seems like a reasonable thing to do. ( )
2 vote MeditationesMartini | Aug 15, 2014 |
This might be a very good work if it weren't for Binet's constant intrusion of himself into his own novel. It gets to the point where he even subjects his readers to his own literary opinions--for instance attacking Jonathan Littel's The kindly ones and even taking a swipe at Michel Houellebecq. Basically his novel could have been edited down another 50 pages and been a lot better for it. Personally I like a lot about it but the author who is a literature professor is pretty much treating his readers like they were just another one of his classes. It struck me as a bit assholish. Not sure I'm going to give him another chance. ( )
1 vote lriley | Aug 12, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 48 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (13 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Laurent Binetprimary 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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Epigraph
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"
Dedication
First words
Gabčík—that's his name—really did exist.
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What would be the point of 'inventing' Nazism?
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Book description
Haiku summary
A Slovak and a
Czech carefully plan Heydrich's
Assassination.
(passion4reading)
Jozef Gabĉík and
Jan Kubiŝ - remember their
Names and bravery.
(passion4reading)

No descriptions found.

(see all 2 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.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 5 descriptions

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