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HHhH: A Novel by Laurent Binet

HHhH: A Novel (edition 2012)

by Laurent Binet, Sam Taylor (Translator)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
903709,768 (3.91)79
Title:HHhH: A Novel
Authors:Laurent Binet
Other authors:Sam Taylor (Translator)
Info:Farrar, Straus and Giroux (2012), Edition: First Edition, Hardcover, 336 pages
Collections:Read in 2013, Your library, Loaned from library

Work details

HHhH by Laurent Binet

  1. 81
    The Kindly Ones by Jonathan Littell (yokai)
  2. 10
    Hitler's Hangman: The Life of Heydrich by Robert Gerwarth (meggyweg)
  3. 10
    Jan Karski by Yannick Haenel (yokai)
  4. 21
    Mendelssohn Is on the Roof by Jiří Weil (gust)
  5. 00
    Resistance by Gerald Brennan (atbradley)
  6. 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.
  7. 11
    The Feast of the Goat by Mario Vargas Llosa (gust)
    gust: Ook hier verzetsleden die een dictator doden.

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» See also 79 mentions

English (44)  Dutch (14)  Spanish (6)  French (4)  Danish (2)  All languages (70)
Showing 1-5 of 44 (next | show all)
Nominally, HHhH is a WWII novel about the assassination of Heydrich, the architect of the Final Solution, by a pair of exiled Czechoslovakian operatives. In fact, it’s a sly, metafictional takedown of historical fiction as a genre. Binet narrates the book himself, breaking into the narrative at random intervals to announce that his girlfriend just left him, or that the previous riveting action sequence never really took place: he just made it up because the only book he could find on the subject was in German (which of course he doesn’t speak). It’s funny, exasperating, and smart. Once you read it you’ll never be able to look at a historical novel in the same way again. ( )
  circumspice | Jul 16, 2014 |
A spellbinding retelling of the assassination of Reinhard Heydrich by a Czech and a Slovak acting parachuted into occupied Czechoslovakia by British intelligence. It provides a mini-biography of Heydrich, his rise to power, and his brutality--not just as one of the architects of the Final Solution but also as the overlord of occupied Czechoslovakia (or technically occupied Bohemia and Moravia as Slovakia was a German puppet state). It also tells somewhat more briefly, likely reflecting the dearth of information, the story of how the assassins, Jan KubiÁ and Jozef Gab€Ì_k, escaped the Nazis, ended up in England, were trained for the mission and parachuted back in.

The conclusion following Heydrich's assassination is even more heartbreaking than the rest of the book, depicting both the brutal and borderline random German reprisals and the tragic deaths of KubiÁ and Gab€Ì_k.

Judging from the few reviews I quickly skimmed, I'm in the minority in liking the authors method which is to tell the story in short chapters (about 270 in all) with frequent postmodern intrusions of the authorial voice talking about how he is writing the book, the books he read to research it, where he is not sure of the facts (in some cases going back and correcting earlier chapters), how he is incapable of rendering the full tribute that the Czechoslovak partisans deserve, etc. I found the story was so powerful that these frequent authorial intrusions did not diminish it in any way. And in fact they enhanced it by making you more confident in the credibility of the story, which itself allows you to be more immersed in it, because the author is so clear about the limits of his telling that you are that much more confident in what is there. (Plus I got a few more recommendations of books I had never heard of but now am interested in reading.) ( )
1 vote nosajeel | Jun 21, 2014 |
A special book.
A book about a story to be told. A real life story, the killing of Heydrich in World War II by the resistance.
But more then that, a book about the writer of the book, written by himself.
His emotions, his sympathy or not, his view, his showing off with how many other authors he knows, he disapproves, ....
But intriguing, compelling, sucking you in .... In this to be told story, in this story that everyone should read.
So that we should know that heroes exist, not th'e two gunmen, but ordinary civilians risking their lives for.... For what? For freedom? Ouch.... Too high. For their country? Ouch ... Way too far. For friendship maybe, or for what they believe deep in themselves is right or wrong!
As i said, ordinary people. But certainly heroes! ( )
  Lunarreader | Jun 18, 2014 |

Maybe 3.5. I can see the point of using casual narration to offset the intensity of the story, but at times I felt it went too far and bordered on sloppiness / laziness, e.g. "I haven't had time to investigate more deeply." "I would love to know the contents of that letter. I should have copied it down in Czech when I had the chance." This is a shame because I think the author was comprehensive in his research. I just wish he hadn't weakened his message by revealing so much of what he didn't do. ( )
  EllenReads | Apr 26, 2014 |
Really really enjoyed this book. Easy to read, exciting, different. I loved how the author discussed his own journey to discovery and his qualms about writing the book. I had never heard of the assassination attempt on Heydrich previously so I also learnt a lot ( )
  Cfraser | Feb 12, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 44 (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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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"
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Gabčík—that's his name—really did exist.
What would be the point of 'inventing' Nazism?
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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 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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