The final work of fiction from Norman Mailer, a defining voice of the postwar era, is also one of his most ambitious, taking as its subject the evil of Adolf Hitler. The narrator, a mysterious SS man in possession of extraordinary secrets, follows Adolf from birth through adolescence and offers revealing portraits of Hitler’s parents and siblings. A crucial reflection on the shadows that eclipsed the twentieth century, Mailer’s novel delivers myriad twists and surprises along with characteristically astonishing insights into the struggle between good and evil that exists in us all.
Praise for The Castle in the Forest
“This remarkable novel about the young Adolf Hitler, his family and their shifting circumstances, is Mailer’s most perfect apprehension of the absolutely alien. . . . Mailer doesn’t inhabit these historical figures so much as possess them.” —The New York Times Book Review
“Terrifically creepy . . . an icy and convincing portrait of the dictator as a young sociopath.” —Entertainment Weekly
“The work of a bold and confident writer who may yet be seen as the preeminent novelist of our time . . . a source of tremendous narrative pleasure . . . Every character . . . lives and breathes.” —South Florida Sun-Sentinel
“Blackly hilarious, beautifully written . . . [ The Castle in the Forest] has vigor, excitement, humor and vastness of spirit.” —The New York Observer
Praise for Norman Mailer
“[Norman Mailer] loomed over American letters longer and larger than any other writer of his generation.” —The New York Times
“A writer of the greatest and most reckless talent.” —The New Yorker
“Mailer is indispensable, an American treasure.” —The Washington Post
“A devastatingly alive and original creative mind.” —Life
“Mailer is fierce, courageous, and reckless and nearly everything he writes has sections of headlong brilliance.” —The New York Review of Books
“The largest mind and imagination [in modern] American literature . . . Unlike just about every American writer since Henry James, Mailer has managed to grow and become richer in wisdom with each new book.” —Chicago Tribune
“Mailer is a master of his craft. His language carries you through the story like a leaf on a stream.” —The Cincinnati Post
From the Hardcover edition.
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No career in modern American letters is at once so brilliant, varied, and controversial as that of Norman Mailer. In a span of more than six decades, Mailer has searched into subjects ranging from World War II to Ancient Egypt, from the march on the Pentagon to Marilyn Monroe, from Henry Miller and Mohammad Ali to Jesus Christ. Now, in The Castle in the Forest, his first major work of fiction in more than a decade, Mailer offers what may be his consummate literary endeavor: He has set out to explore the evil of Adolf Hitler.
The narrator, a mysterious SS man who is later revealed to be an exceptional presence, gives us young Adolf from birth, as well as Hitler’s father and mother, his sisters and brothers, and the intimate details of his childhood and adolescence.
A tapestry of unforgettable characters, The Castle in the Forest delivers its playful twists and surprises with astonishing insight into the nature of the struggle between good and evil that exists in us all. At its core is a hypothesis that propels this novel and makes it a work of stunning originality. Now, on the eve of his eighty-fourth birthday, Norman Mailer may well be saying more than he ever has before.
Who was Adolf Hitler? It's a question writers have been trying to answer for more than sixty years. But after thousands of biographies, histories, novels, and films, many fundamental questions remain: How do we explain Hitler's hatred? Where did it come from? Could it happen again? Norman Mailer sets out to respond to these and other crucial aspects of Hitler's personality in his immensely readable new novel. Spanning three generations, and a hundred years of history, the book brings to life the Hitlers ? grandparents, parents, aunts, uncles, siblings, and, ultimately, young Adolf ? in an energetic and wildly entertaining family saga. Mailer recounts the marriages, incestuous couplings, estrangements, afflictions, and deaths that lead to the birth of little Adi in 1889. Told in the voice of a narrator who in time reveals himself as an assistant to the devil, this playful yet profound novel blends fact and fiction in an incomparable family tale that will cause the reader to re-examine his preconceived ideas about Hitler and the nature of his evil.
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