The Sins of the Father

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9780091748395: The Sins of the Father

A novel based on the story of Eichmann's discovery, capture and execution. The scene shifts from Argentina to Israel, from London to Rome, as Franz and Becky try to come to terms with their fathers' world. By the author of "A Question of Loyalties", winner of the Scottish Book of the Year Award.

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About the Author:

Allan Massie, one of Scotland's foremost literary figures, was born in Singapore in 1938, grew up in Aberdeenshire and read history at Cambridge. He has published 23 works of fiction and nine of non-fiction, which include a string of highly successful historical novels. Perhaps his most masterly works are those set in contemporary society, which confront a wide range of difficult moral problems: The Death of Men, A Question of Loyalties (winner of the 1989 Saltire Society Book of the Year Award), Shadows of Empire, Surviving and, of course, The Sins of the Father. He is also one of Scotland's most respected political commentators and a prolific journalist whose book reviews always reflect his deep understanding of the art of writing.

From Kirkus Reviews:

Specializing in giving real people and events a light fictional touch-up, veteran British writer Massie (Let the Emperor Speak, 1987, etc.) now examines the destructive legacy of an Eichmann-like character and a Holocaust survivor, whose children meet, marry, and part. Concerned with the ends of things and the inescapable consequences of acts, this is one of those rare novels that would be improved by starting at the end--when the protagonists' tragic lives could be better understood by returning to the past. Instead, Massie introduces the two star-crossed lovers, Becky and Franz, just after they've declared their love, and goes on from there. Both live in Buenos Aires, where Becky's father, Eli, a Holocaust survivor, had come to teach economics but, now blind, spends his days listening to music. Franz lives with his mother and her Argentinean husband but sees his own father, the enigmatic Rudi Schmidt, an engineer, whenever he's in town. When the two families meet, Eli recognizes Rudi's voice; and though he gives his permission for the couple to marry, he takes actions that will ultimately destroy them. While Rudi turns out to be a prominent Nazi, wanted by the Israelis, Eli's background is not unblemished either. A famous economist, he had worked under the Nazis and, though sent to Auschwitz, had refused to go to Israel when released because, fearing commitment, ``I set myself up as a judge of right and wrong, even as a judge over Israel.'' The lovers travel to Israel for the trial, listen to the damning testimony, and are overwhelmed by their conflicting emotions. In the novel's second part, a new narrator details at a clip the couple's downward spiral into depression and tragedy. The sins of the fathers are indeed visited with a vengeance more plot- than character-driven, and, despite some good things, there are too many convenient coincidences and too much pretentious analysis for the big questions raised. -- Copyright ©1992, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

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