Friday, October 27, 2017

Cephalopod Coffeehouse: October 2017

Welcome one and all to the Cephalopod Coffeehouse, a cozy gathering of book lovers, meeting to discuss their thoughts regarding the works they enjoyed most over the previous month.  Pull up a chair, order your cappuccino and join in the fun.  If you wish to add your own review to the conversation, please sign on to the link list at the end of my post.

Title: HHhH
Author: Laurent Binet
via Amazon
I'm pretty sure I like this book.  I certainly like it most of the time.  HHhH is mostly a work of historical fiction, exploring the characters and events surrounding the assassination of Nazi monster Reinhard Heydrich in Prague in 1942.  I say "mostly" because Binet's approach to the story is highly unusual.  Interlaced with the historical tale is the author's recounting of his own challenges in writing the book.  While his commentary is, to a point, interesting, I find it distracting.  The instant the assassination story gets rolling, Binet pulls back to indulge in his meta crap.  I enjoyed his overall style but I just wanted him to shut up about himself after a while.

But of course, the meta crap is exactly why Binet's book has gotten attention.  After all, there are other books and movies about Operation Anthropoid, the assassination plot's code name.   Interestingly, and to me somewhat puzzlingly, there is a movie adaptation of HHhH.  It was released in France in May and an English translation entitled The Man with the Iron Heart will be released later this year.  From what I've read, it doesn't sound like the movie includes the meta crap - a good choice in my opinion.

I know, it sounds like I didn't actually enjoy the book but I really did.  Binet writes well even as he meanders.  He leaves no doubts as to the deep evil of the Nazi regime, a sobering reminder in the midst of today's racial struggles.  Binet, a Frenchman, also paints a loving picture of Czechoslovakia (as it was at the time) and Prague in particular.

Please join us and share your own review of your best read from the past month.  This month's link list is below.  I'll keep it open until the end of the day.  I'll post November's tomorrow.  Meetings are the last Friday of each month.  Next gathering is November 24th.




16 comments:

  1. Huh. The title put me in mind of genomics and eugenics, and I thought the book would focus on that part of the Nazi regime: human genetic experimentation. Doesn't sound like it though. Probably not one I'd pick up, and not because of the *dubious* recommendation, either! Not my bag, baby.
    Thanks for sharing!
    V:)

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    1. It's a strange book but an interesting one.

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  2. Hmm... Now, I'm conflicted.
    I'll probably try it at some point just to look at the style.

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    1. I would be interested to know what you think.

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  3. It sounds like this book is a little bit tormenting! I guess it's good to challenge ourselves with reading books that are sometimes a little tiring ;)

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    1. Definitely and really, the consistently strong quality of the material is more than enough to hold one's interest.

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  4. I wouldn't have guessed what the book was about by the cover!

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    1. It sure doesn't offer many clues unless you already know the story.

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  5. I might have to check this book out myself! Sounds very interesting.

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  6. I think I'd find the asides too annoying after a while though the central story interests me.

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  7. The story sound interesting but the asides are would be to annoying. PLus it sounds like a gimmick or vanity piece.

    cheers, parsnip

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    1. There is a bit of vanity, though I must admit it never feels gimmicky. The exploration of the creative process is earnest and interesting in itself. I think I would have preferred HHhH as two separate books rather than one.

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  8. Sounds interesting. I like the concept of the story, but not sure I'd be able to handle the "meta crap." Perhaps I should see the movie first, that way when I go back and read the book, I'll think it's better regardless. ;)

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    1. I can't say I am especially interested in the movie but maybe worth a rental.

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