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The Darkroom of Damocles
Synopses & Reviews
This intriguing novel follows German author Thomas Mann during three crucial days in 1936. Away in Switzerland and fearing arrest by the Nazis upon his return to Germany, Mann must choose whether to travel back to Munich. He decides to release an open letter to the regime in a Swiss newspaper but is then tortured by doubt: his Jewish publisher in Germany will be furious with the unwelcome attention Mann’s letter is sure to bring, and by choosing exile, isn’t the writer abandoning his loyal readers back home? Will the Nazis burn his books? Will they confiscate his diaries, which include intimate, homoerotic confessions?
Britta Böhler shows us one of the twentieth century’s greatest writers as a family man, a father, a writer, and a man with moral doubts. We see a human soul trapped in a historical setting that forces him to make a seemingly impossible choice. A convincing depiction of a dilemma addressed only sparsely in Mann’s own writings, The Decision eloquently explores the all-too-human price of confronting totalitarianism.
A modern day masterpiece and the most critically acclaimed Dutch novel of the 20th century?finally available in English and shortlisted by Three Percent as one of the best translated books of 2008
During the German occupation of Holland, tobacconist Henri Osewoudt is visited by a man named Dorbeck, who strangely proves to be Osewoudt's spitting image in reverse. Dorbeck assigns Osewoudt to commit a series of dangerous assignments, but things quickly go awry, with Osewouldt eventually killing his own wife. After the war, Osewoudt is taken for a traitor and captured. Osewoudt cannot prove that he received assignments from Dorbeck?he cannot even prove that his doppelganger ever existed.
As it forces readers to confront questions of morality and power, right and wrong, The Darkroom of Damocles builds to a stunning conclusion.
About the Author
Britta Böhler, a Dutch lawyer of German descent, is based in Amsterdam. The Decision is her first novel.
Jeannette K. Ringold has translated a number of literary novels from Dutch, including Anna Enquist’s The Masterpiece and The Secret.
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