A Man Lies Dreaming by Lavie Tidhar
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Wow. Certain novels are so rich that they beggar the imagination. This one dives deep into the hidden recesses of alternate histories and pure Noir pulp in a very satisfying romp. Or is it a transformative detective piece? SF, or a commentary on what it really means to be ... led by crazy ideas?
Let's say it. The big surprise. Wolf, the PI living in London, was actually the failed Socialist Party Leader from Germany who lost the election in '33. That's right. He is Hitler. And Germany is overrun by communists. And England seems to be full of his old cronies who have left him behind to become thugs on their own.
Rich, rich, rich stuff here. And it's a great noir, dealing with pride, being broken, Jewish employers, and lots of references to Hitler's book and the publishing industry. Failed book, I might add. :)
I had a great time. None of it was in your face or obvious except for the careful reader, except, perhaps, by the end of the novel, but that's not really the main point.
Oddly enough, I loved one aspect more than all the rest. Hitler's weird transformation into a Jew. It didn't happen right away and had lots of good reasons behind it, like being undercover, but SO MUCH happens that turns our history on its head and pours it all on this poor man... even making him sympathetic in a way... as he lives, learns, and through his embitterment, makes us feel.
I've read nothing like this. It is a class of its own. :) Not a satire. Indeed, rather careful, very mystery-oriented, and often disturbing, but not for the usual reasons. And then, the framing device of the dreaming man, living in a concentration camp... well, that's another added bonus that just makes me think and think. :)
Really enjoyable novel. And btw, it's tied to Unholy Land. I would recommend reading A Man Lies Dreaming first.
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