Customer Reviews for

The Castle in the Forest: A Novel

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 21, 2007

    I loved it! Got me hooked on Mailer!

    I could not put this down...which as a college student it dangerous! I even have started to read it again.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 17, 2007

    Up All Night

    I stayed up all night reading this book. I couldn't make myself put it down. The writing style is so fluid and easy to read. The content gives you so much to think about. A masterful portrait.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 7, 2007

    Fantastic

    Norman Mailer¿s new novel,'The Castle in the Forest' /em , published on his 84th birthday in January, is an eccentric imagining about the young Adolph Hitler, narrated by a top lieutenant of The Devil. The philandering and rationalized dysfunctions characterizing prevailing Hitler Family Values in the future Fuhrer's early life gives us a vivid, arresting depiction of the making of a Monster. Incident after incident, ranging from his father Alois's incestuous infidelities the youth's rapt fascination in a village blacksmith's theories on how a Will of Iron is galvanized, Mailer's use of the narrating demon gives a feeling of when the worm had turned. It's good, wonderfully seductive, a tale you can't turn away from. Among Mailer's life long themes have been various examinations of the gaining and use of power, for purposes good or ill. This theme, Mailer¿s central obsession in his fifty years of authoring books, is obvious in such varied novels as 'An American Dream', the staggering, problematic fiction where an alcoholic writer and television personality murdering his estranged wife from intuited instructions from the moon, or in 'Ancient Evenings', where reincarnation and sexual domination are the means to control and manage one¿s journey through history. The first person memoir of Jesus Christ in 'The Gospel According to the Son', where we witness the bizarre difficulty of being half man and half divine in the exercise of godly powers with a very mortal sense of weariness and exhaustion, while within the generational CIA novel 'Harlot¿s Ghost' Cold War intelligence gathering becomes akin to religious practice and operatives must ironically acquire the capacity for amoral application of trade craft to preserve the rumored good of their cause. Diverse though the settings and eras are, Mailer¿s fiction all have similar existential notion, whether his protagonists take responsibility for the actions given them by respective flights of intuition, voices from ashen moonscapes, or the whispers of ghosts and spirits. Mailer has defined his idea of existentialism as the practice of taking risks and accepting challenges without regard to trying to control the results. It is the pure state of happenstance that real and authentic choices are made, with the manipulation or denial of the requisites ending badly, in disease, disaster, war, lost hope. 'The Castle in the Forest'¿s imagined portrait of a world scourge emerging from a festering mess will give one something to ponder, perhaps in a pause of action when one is deciding whether to be a bastard by exacting a revenge for a slight, real or imagined, or whether will be mature enough to let the irritation fade and thus not make the world a more sour place. The beating of butterfly wings indeed our good works, enacted in good faith, has an effect on how history turns out, but the sad fact is that our worst deeds seem to swell faster and sweep aside all good intentions in their tsunami like rush. Our narrator, a lieutenant of Satan going by the name DT, or Dieter, here tells his tale in Elaborate detail, extended digressions, anecdotes about what it¿s like to work for such a horrific employer and characterizations of the small nuances of the war between heaven and hell. Young Hitler is nudged, whispered to, exposed to various stimulations, excitements and harsh experiences, made to witness great spectacles and various forms of cruelty and abuse. Worse, perhaps, DT gives the young Adolph¿s ears the speeches of vain and minor men and women speaking volumes about their best intentions, only to have their asides and instructions and philosophical squibs given the lie by crudity, violence. The petty vanities of Hitler¿s parents¿a preening brute of a father, a doting and emotionally confused mother¿and their sustained failures to be ballast for their children are portraits worthy of Faulkner of a family held together with promiscuous applications of bad faith. Adolph

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 18, 2010

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 30, 2010

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