Sunday, June 9, 2013
The Assault, by Dutch author Harry Mulisch, impressed me more than I thought it would. Early in 1945, a Dutch collaborator is shot to death and his body left where it fell in front of a house. The house's residents, fearing German reprisals, move the body to a neighboring family's doorstep. That family, all except the youngest son, Anton, is executed. The effect of this trauma on Anton's life, and the gradual revelations of everything that happened that night, and why, make up the story. I appreciated the symbolism (Anton becomes an anesthesiologist as an adult, and forms the belief that patients experience all the trauma of their surgery but are unable to respond and unable to remember afterward, for instance). I also enjoyed the intertwinement of good and evil motives, on the part of both the Dutch and the Germans, and how the combination of these motives led to what happened on the fatal night.
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