Quick Book Review: HHhH by Laurent Binet

HHhH HHhH by Laurent Binet
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

HHhH is a strange marvel of a book that’s difficult to fully describe. Its genius is reflecting our own process of understanding history–the names we remember and those we do not; the facts we include and those we exclude; the things we can know and the things we can never–while making the reader feel the heart stopping pressure and sadness and tragedy and cold bloodedness of violent oppression. I’d give it 5 stars if it gave me a bit more vivid description of people and places than it does. But then, I suppose, that’s part of the point the narrator makes–that to do so is to fictionalize story past the point of remaining historical.

I couldn’t put it down, though. It’s a fascinating deconstruction of the process of writing a historical novel and yet it never loses the stories of the main players. It’s unlike any novel I’ve read before. Its bold heart will stay with me.

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