Hitler and the novel


Why do we seem to like Hitler in our fiction? Last year saw the English translation of Laurent Binet‘s HHhH (HHhH) and next year will see the publication in English of Timur VermesEr ist wieder da [He’s Back]. Now, the latest twist on the Hitler story is another French book, this one by the pseudonymous François Saintonge, called Dolfi et Marilyn. It tells the story of the 130 year old billionaire Reinhard Gentschel who clones his two favourite dead people – Adolf Hitler and Marilyn Monroe. I have not seen any announcement as to whether it is to be translated into English but I would not be surprised. I have not yet read it and do not know whether I will. So why are we still fascinated by him? After all, we do not seem to have too many novels about other 20th century monsters, such as Stalin and Mao, though maybe the Russians and Chinese are producing them and we are not aware of them. Non-fiction books about the Nazis also apparently sell very well. Is this because Nazism and Hitler affected us (i.e. Western Europeans) much more than did Stalin and Mao? Whatever the case, I am sure we will see more books along these lines.

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