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Posted December 11, 2013
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In postwar literature the horrors of Naziism tend to be painted
In postwar literature the horrors of Naziism tend to be painted in broad strokes. Writers like Gunter Grass and Heinrich Boll have created masterpieces in which they explore the larger implications and impact of National Socialism. In The Assault Harry Mulisch narrows it all down to a finer point; the impact of one event on the life of one man. In occupied Holland, just weeks before liberation, a Nazi collaborator is shot in front of 12 y/o Anton Steenwijk's house. The events that quickly follow will shape the rest of Anton's life. In this short novel we follow Anton through all the rage, grief, and confusion he feels as he tries to move on. As Anton, and we, slowly learn more about that night we find our initial assumptions being challenged. And through Anton Mulisch gives us a clear picture of all the rage, grief, and confusion that was WWII. The Assault is one of the finest pieces of postwar literature you'll ever read.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted April 2, 2009
this book is a revelation, and should be a classic
The structure is brilliant, and the story packs the punch of great moral fiction. The eponymous assault, a shocking event that changes the narrator's life, is first seen by him as a child, but in no way understood except as it affects him personally. Then scene by scene as he grows up, Mulisch adds to his understanding of why what happened happened and what it means, until by the end the motives of all the actors in the event are understandable, and even compel forgiveness. A thrilling piece of craft, and art.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted September 10, 2008
An insightful look into the historical wake of WWII
Each of Mulisch's novels deals in one way or another with the myriad ways in which things that happened in the past continue to effect our lives, and how they help to mold us into the people we are. In this novel he discusses how the terrible things that occured in WWII can leave one mentally and emotionally scarred, and I think it grants each of us an insight into human nature, and the ways in which we are able to cope with horrific experiences. Mulisch writes from a uniquely Dutch perspective, but in most cases his stories could have happened in any of the countries occupied by the Germans in WWII.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted February 26, 2009
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