I was always told never to speak ill of the dead – thankfully that doesn’t apply to my boss as he is still breathing – but when it comes to Norman mailer some people just can’t resist.
In the Guardian today Joan Smith puts the boot in to Mailer describing him as a sexist homophobic reactionary who had pulled a confidence trick since the 1960s. No reference was made to The Castle in the Forest but it might have helped stand up some of her accusations.
The story slowly moves onto the location of the farm the family moves to after Alois the father retires to cultivate the land and indulge in some bee keeping. Hitler and the others have to adapt to farm life, which involves hard work and seeing a lot more of their father than either they or he are used to. It also provides the location for another pregnancy and a chance for the husband and wife to improve their relationship.
The demon narrator is busy carrying out his master’s bidding trying to work out whether or not Alois is heading towards some sort of godly moment with his love for nature and then working hard to put Hitler in front of an old man who sells bees and works for them.
The parts of the book that makes you feel slightly uncomfortable, not because so much the subject but the repetition, is around the idea of faeces, the anus and bodily odours. The devil it seems is obsessed with the first two and his chosen ones exhibit particularly bad cases of the later. After a few graphic illustrations you do get the point and can do without even more attempts to rub your nose in it if you pardon the pun.