Hardback Farrar, Strauß and Giroux

By (author) Laurent Binet, Translated by Sam Taylor

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  • Publisher: Farrar Straus Giroux
  • Format: Hardback | 327 pages
  • Dimensions: 149mm x 217mm x 27mm | 449g
  • Publication date: 24 April 2012
  • Publication City/Country: New York, NY
  • ISBN 10: 0374169918
  • ISBN 13: 9780374169916
  • Sales rank: 128,839

Product description

"HHhH: ""Himmlers Hirn heisst Heydrich," or "Himmler's brain is called Heydrich." The most dangerous man in Hitler's cabinet, Reinhard Heydrich was known as the "Butcher of Prague." He was feared by all and loathed by most. With his cold Aryan features and implacable cruelty, Heydrich seemed indestructible--until two men, a Slovak and a Czech recruited by the British secret service, killed him in broad daylight on a bustling street in Prague, and thus changed the course of History. Who were these men, arguably two of the most discreet heroes of the twentieth century? In Laurent Binet's captivating debut novel, we follow Jozef Gabćik and Jan Kubis from their dramatic escape of Nazi-occupied Czechoslovakia to England; from their recruitment to their harrowing parachute drop into a war zone, from their stealth attack on Heydrich's car to their own brutal death in the basement of a Prague church. A seemingly effortlessly blend of historical truth, personal memory, and Laurent Binet's remarkable imagination, "HHhH"--an international bestseller and winner of the prestigious Prix Goncourt du Premier Roman--is a work at once thrilling and intellectually engrossing, a fast-paced novel of the Second World War that is also a profound meditation on the nature of writing and the debt we owe to history. "HHhH" is one of "The New York Times'" Notable Books of 2012.

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Author information

Laurent Binet was born in Paris, France, in 1972. He is the author of "La Vie professionnelle de Laurent B.," a memoir of his experience teaching in secondary schools in Paris. In March 2010, his debut novel, "HHhH," ""won the Prix Goncourt du Premier Roman. Laurent Binet is a professor at the University of Paris III, where he lectures on French literature.

Review quote

"A literary tour de force . . . ["HHhH"] is a gripping novel that brings us closer to history as it really happened." --Alan Riding, "The New York Times Book Review""[An] extraordinary first novel . . . "HHhH," translated from the French by Sam Taylor, charts Heydrich's rise through the Nazi ranks and Germany's march to war . . . [to] the training in Britain of the Czech and Slovak assassins, Jan Kubis and Jozef Gabcik, who parachuted into the country in December 1941 to kill Heydrich. Ample material for a decent espionage thriller, but Binet, 'a slave to my scruples, ' makes something altogether less commonplace of it. His fidelity to the historical record, and obsessive urge to analyse those moments where surmise replaces fact, makes "HHhH" as much about the technical and moral processes of writing a historical novel as it is a historical novel . . . This unusual method results in a literary triumph . . . Using short, punchy chapters, Binet keeps his story haring along. The book's final section, which recounts the assassination and subsequent manhunt in minute detail, is a masterpiece of tension, and its closing pages are extremely moving. Very few page-turners come as smart and original as this." --Chris Power, "The Times "(London)"Captivating . . . ["HHhH"] has a vitality very different from that of most historical fiction." --James Wood, "The New Yorker""[Binet] knows how to wrangle powerful moments from history." --Susannah Meadows, "The New York Times""["HHhH" is] a marvelous, charming, engaging novel." --Carolyn Kellogg, "Los Angeles Times""Every now and then a piece of work comes along that undermines the assumptions upon which all previous works have been built . . . These pieces of art complicate the genre for everyone that follows. "A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius" did it for the memoir, "Reservoir Dogs" for action films, and now "HHhH" does it for the historical novel. Laurent Binet's brilliantly translated debut deconstructs