- 85,00 kr
An occult Nazi program is threatened by a philosopher’s letter to a friend in this “stunning work, full of mystery and strange tenderness” (Dan Chaon).
In the waning days of World War II, Nazi Germany is coming apart at the seams. Yet the death machine continues to churn. The Third Reich’s obsession with the astral plane has led to the formation of an underground compound of scribes—translators charged with answering letters addressed to concentration camp inmates who are most likely dead.
Into this covert compound comes a letter written by eminent philosopher Martin Heidegger to his optometrist, a prisoner of Auschwitz. Goebbels himself has demanded a response. But the mere presence of Heidegger’s words—one simple letter in a place filled with letters—sparks a series of events that will ultimately threaten the safety of the entire compound.
With this debut novel that is part thriller and part meditation on how the dead are remembered—and with threads of Heidegger’s philosophy woven throughout—Thaisa Frank deftly reconstructs the landscape of Nazi Germany in “a spellbinding, innovative, intellectually compelling tour-de-force” (Michelle Huneven).
In her debut novel, Frank (A Brief History of Camouflage) presents a slightly fantastic tale of WWII, concerning an underground German bunker where multi-lingual intellectuals, spared the concentration camps, spend the war answering letters sent to concentration camp inmates who are, in all likelihood, already dead; called the Compound of Scribes, its mission is part record-keeping, part supernatural insurance plan, meant to keep the spirits of the dead from tipping off psychics to the Nazi's Final Solution. Despite their absurd (and potentially confusing) orders, the 50-some Scribes live in relative peace under the supervision of Elie and Gerhardt, lovers secretly working for the Resistance. Then a daunting task comes down from Goebbels himself answer a letter from genius philosopher Martin Heidegger to his friend and optometrist Asher Englehardt, a prisoner in Auschwitz setting events in motion that will threaten the lives of everyone in the compound. Taking readers to a curiously polyglot netherworld, a population removed from the horrors of the Reich even as it deals in some of its most intimate dispatches, Frank's vision of the Holocaust is original and startling, with compelling characters and a narrative that's both explosive and ponderous.