Prisoner of Night and Fog by Anne Blankman
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
The relationships they all have, and no, not the Forbidden Love angle either (what do you take me for?) It’s that between her and her family. It’s that between her and Hitler himself. No, make that especially, that between her and Hitler. I once saw a History channel special on Hitler and his women; this book skims on some of what that revealed. And yes, the research is remarkable. If only. If only more of it were revealed… mainly because it is what made reading this veer unexpectedly toward the skeevy and creepy.
Surprising, considering the title truly had me expectant of beautiful prose and mysterious situations combo like that in Daughter of Smoke and Bone. Blame my expectations of that sort on the title and my having skipped the synopsis again. Not to say that this wasn’t beautifully written, its elements are cleverly woven together and despite the varied things covered it all works quite well. So many aspects together, including the historical (may be) facts made more intriguing given a mysterious death then made even more complicated with hints of forbidden love AND all those exchanges within her messed up family plus the idol worship that’d be inconceivable today.
The way things have been put together in this one, we end up with a murder-mystery set in a period when most everyone knows something or at least someone in it (Hitler, yeah?) But the questions become not about him, but about who she is to him, who her family is to him and why that’s the case. So that it’s how her own history plays a big part, how that history may have been retooled so that she’s not sure about what’s true and what’s not. There are questions on roles and perceptions that shift unexpectedly because all of it has her peeling back layers of people and time to confront the possibility that her truth isn’t the truth at all.
The makings of a psychopath.
(view spoiler)[ (And no, it’s not just who you think it is.) This is where I’m on the fence over this. First, there’s the way it’s made a vital part of the whole story; her fears are what push her on; they’re what goad her to find the truth. Scary and all that, BUT. But there’s the almost too-simplistic way everything lines up. A psychopath is this and that and that, all checked off as she considered it against a certain someone’s behavior. I mean it’s chilling to be sure, but it’s too almost too simple an explanation. There’s a reduction to what I was feeling PiNaF was becoming. As in, “Really, a psychopath... in a murder-mystery. Well, who would have thunk?!” (hide spoiler)]
...Done right. But more than just them it’s truth in general. That slow realization on her part that the truths she’d been raised on are not truths at all; slow recognition by her own action of her peeling things back, and letting herself piece her past together and see the horrible possibilities coming their way.
Thank you, Edelweiss!
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