If this book was part of some sort of literature course then possibly it could provoke you to fill pages and pages commenting on the questions it raises.
But as this is a blog and written by someone of only moderate intelligence the response will not be quite as grand.
The main takeaway here is the fact that history, even a corrupted version of it, continues to influence future generations. Even when that history seems to be best left gathering dust – something connected with the Nazi era – it still has the power to capture the imagination and push people into extreme positions.
Is the son guilty because he tries to act out some historical based fantasy of killing a Jew to revenge the Nazi martyr he idolizes? Is the grandmother wrong for filling her grandson’s head with historical biased nonsense? Is the father guilty for never being there to address these issues until faster too late when he decides to put them down as some sort of writing exercise?
Or is there a larger finger being pointed here at the German state for failing to face up to its past and as a result allowing misinterpretations to take hold among amateur historians?
Of course the answer is a mixture of all of the above. The problem is that it is almost impossible to identify and sympathize with any of the characters. Even the murdered boy turns out to be a liar and a fantasist disowned by his parents. There are no rights in this story. Even those who played their parts at the time ended up fading from glory.
A challenging book and one that is attacking a wide number of targets, not least of all is the power of the internet to disseminate false information and spread racial hatred, but it is not that easy to read and as a result is a frustrating experience.
A review will follow shortly…