Synopses & Reviews
Now a major motion picture, this is a story of obsession, loyalty, and control as one man with dark intentions charms his way into the lives of an innocent, unsuspecting family, based on the true exile of Nazi doctor Josef Mengele to South America Patagonia, 1960. José is on the run. Having fled from his homeland of Germany, he has come to South America to continue his work as a doctor seeking to manipulate genes to create the "perfect" human race. In the small village of Chacharramendi he meets Lilith, a child he first notices from the balcony of his motel who instantly fascinates yet repulses him. Lilith has a growth defect, and the disproportionate size of her features represents all that José is trying to exterminate from humankind. Yet, even more intriguing is the fact that her siblings are perfect examples of the Aryan race: tall, strongly built, and fair. The anomaly of Lilith's existence enthralls José, and when he discovers Lilith's mother is pregnant, the temptation to involve himself in their lives and even interfere with the pregnancy is too much for him to pass up. A cold, calculating, but eerily charming man, José befriends Lilith and manipulates his way into the family. And so begins a dark relationship between the doctor and the little girl, a kind of love that cannot end well. For José is actually Nazi doctor Josef Mengele, infamous for performing human experiments at Auschwitz, and sooner or later his past is going to catch up with him.
"Exiled Nazi doctor Josef Mengele seizes the chance to resume his racial experiments in this unsettling psychological study from Argentinian author Puenzo (The Fish Child). In the 1960s, Mengele is living in Argentina under an assumed name, JosÃ©. On a road trip through La Pampa province, he stops in a village and spots Lilith, a blonde girl, playing with some dark-skinned children. The beautiful, otherwise physically perfect Lilith, is obviously too short for her age, which he estimates to be eight years old. Determined to treat the girl's dwarfism, Mengele follows her family to the resort town of Bariloche, where, posing as a tourist, he insinuates himself into their home. He works his manipulative charm on not only Lilith but also her pregnant mother, though his obsession with the daughter blinds him to the approach of Nora Edloc, a Nazi-hunter. Offering no moral judgments or neat resolutions, this subversive tragedy eradicates boundaries between victim and victimizer. Puenzo also wrote, directed, and produced the 2013 Argentinian film of the same title." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"Offering no moral judgments or neat resolutions, this subversive tragedy eradicates boundaries between victim and victimizer." —Publishers Weekly
About the Author
Lucía Puenzo is an Argentine author and film director. Her previous books include The Fish Child. She was featured in Granta's Best of Young Spanish Language Novelists 2010.