In The Universe, and Other Fictions, Paul West embraces galaxies and molecular events, creating singular fiction as combustible and astonishing as Creation itself. In The Very Rich Hours of Count von Stauffenberg, West weaves a brilliant tapestry of fact and imagination about the ill-fated attempt to assassinate Adolf Hitler. In the dark literary thriller, The Women of Whitechapel and Jack the Ripper, West brilliantly recasts the Jack the Ripper story, drawing on up-to-date research and his own dazzling imagination to plumb the lower depths of Victorian England.
|Publisher:||The Overlook Press|
|Product dimensions:||5.42(w) x 7.86(h) x 0.99(d)|
|Age Range:||18 Years|
What People are Saying About This
It is a magnificent book, one of those novels you can't stop reading, and at the same time, very subtle in its structure.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This is a very rich book with such lush, dense writing that this reader often sat bemused. The narrative moves from Claus von Stauffenberg's service in Africa where he was horribly wounded through his rising determination to kill Hitler, taking its time over the assassination attempt, and finally relentlessly documenting the aftermath for the conspirators and their families. West moves seamlessly from interior monologue to action and back. Readers would do well to have the events of July, 1944 well in mind. For those of us who are not well-versed, an appendix of names and places is very helpful. Whether West accurately records the feelings of Stauffenberg I couldn't say, but I will say that it feels right to me, and I found the book well worth the effort.
An Englishman living in the Ithaca NY area West is a writer who seems to feel at home writing fiction situated from just about anywhere on the planet. He's not always the most easy to read--the points of view often posited by his characters are ones they often leave unexpressed in the world about them but are made available to the reader so one gets their thoughts and feelings even if those closest to the character in the book don't. In 'The very rich hours of Count von Stauffenberg' we eventually come to realize that the narrative voice is that of Stauffenberg after his execution by firing squad. For those a little short on history Claus von Stauffenberg was the man--the war cripple--who walked into the 'Wolf's Lair' with a brief case full of explosives and very nearly assassinated Adolph Hitler. He was a major part of the plot including many prominent german civilians, civil administrators and military officers to kill the fuhrer and to take over the country and try to reach an agreement with Britain and the United States to end the war. In the aftermath of the failure Stauffenberg was almost immediately executed by order of General Fromm (himself a plotter attempting to cover his tracks--not that it will do him any good in the end). It is here where the human dimension of the book truly comes to the foreground as some like Fromm try to save themselves by turning on others and some run for cover and some kill themselves and a very few stand up unapologetically--and it is here also where the book turns into one long lament for those left behind and left to suffer for the failure as Stauffenberg's family including his children are visited very shortly by the Gestapo and as West describes the horrific scenes of torture and execution presided over by an enraged Hitler who sits in his own private movie theatre playing the scenes of these filmed executions over and over.