The Castle on the Forest, by Norman Mailer

Book 47

Norman Mailer was the kind of writer that liked to mess with your head and in his final novel, he outdid himself.  This is the most disturbing thing I have read all year.

Well, duh.  The premise is that minions of the devil watched and guided the Hitler family from even before the time when Adolf was born.  The narrator was assigned to the infant and tells the family story.

It is demented, as one would expect.  Although I wouldn’t have thought as far as two generations of inbreeding.  Really close inbreeding.

Also, I don’t know how I picked up a novel about Hitler being guided by the Devil’s Minions without understanding that at some point, something terrible was going to happen to a dog.

Mailer pulled a pretty cool stunt in there, too.  He left the Hitler action to cover the coronation of Czar Nicholas II.  Because the minion was assigned to that, too.  What is even cooler is that the narrator said if the reader wasn’t interested, he or she could pick up the Hitler action again on page 261.  I sure wanted to hear about Russia.  A shorter detour was later taken to the assassination of Empress Elisabeth of Austria.  The point is that Evil weaves it Evil Web at different times and places.  And it is patient.

I began losing some interest after the death of Alois Hitler, the father.  But the chilling epilogue said that after 1945, the Devil’s Minions set up shop in the U.S. and began “investing” in both Israel and the Arabs.

It would not surprise me if that was what Mailer intended to write next.

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