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HHhH Hardcover – 3 May 2012


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Harvill Secker; First U.K. Edition edition (3 May 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1846554799
  • ISBN-13: 978-1846554797
  • Product Dimensions: 14.4 x 3.1 x 22.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (242 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 125,134 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

HHhH is a highly original piece of work, at once charming, moving, and gripping (Martin Amis)

HHhH blew me away. Binet's style fuses it all together: a neutral, journalistic honesty sustained with a fiction writer's zeal and story-telling instincts. It's one of the best historical novels I've ever come across (Brett Easton Ellis)

Extraordinary first novel. a literary triumph. The book's final section, which recounts the assassination and subsequent manhunt in minute detail, is a masterpiece of tension, and its closing pages are extremely moving. Very few page-turners come as smart and original as this (The Times)

Mindblowing. obsessed with the past but gleaming with radical innovation, it's urgent and new and terrifying and beautiful and pretty and much the best thing that's happened in fiction for ages (Dazed and Confused)

Magnificent... unsurpassable... told with grace and elegance... exerts a hypnotic sway over the reader... something of a Greek tragedy and of the splendid thriller... All the details have such persuasive force that they remain indelibly recorded in the memory of the reader (Mario Vargas Llosa)

Book Description

An astonishing, unforgettable novel: a thrilling Second World War assassination plot told with rare literary brilliance.

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3.9 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

130 of 142 people found the following review helpful By C. Bones VINE VOICE on 25 April 2012
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I must admit this book sent me scurrying to see what the definition of a novel is. It is described on the cover as a novel and inside the author speaks of it as a novel and yet this is the true story of the wartime assassination attempt made on the life of Reinhard Heyrick, "the hangman of Prague", by two Czech resistance fighters sent from London. Its actually much more than that telling as it does of the whole rise of Hitler's Germany but it has a focus on Prague where Heydrich reigned supreme. And it is all true. The events described did happen and all of the characters did exist. There are no made up events, no invented characters, no fictional subplots. The author does make up dialogue to fit scenes for which there are no historical record, but he always makes it clear that in these instances he is writing history as it might have happened, as he would like to think that it happened.

So what makes it a novel ? Laurent Binet adopts the post-modern technique of placing himself inside his story to tell us how it developed, the people he met, the mistakes he made, the books he read and gives us his thoughts and feelings as he "lives" the story. At times he tells events with himself placed in the "now" and sometimes he places himself in Prague at the time events were unfolding. Also the structure does not flow in the linear fashion that a purely historical account might. It moves back and forth from events sometimes major sometimes minor, sometimes just a random quote from a wartime diary, sometimes a few paragraphs to tell how the author came across a related book and what he thought of it. The author is trying to make us experience what it was like to be there and he doesn't have any qualms as to how he goes about it.

And then there is the writing.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By FoucaultReview on 2 Oct 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
When I saw the cover and the quirky title, I immediately became intrigued and began reading the book with high expectations, even though I was already vaguely aware of Heydrich's biography.

I must say that what followed did not add much to my understanding of Heydrich's character. The novel (can we call it that?) does have an original touch - the author's alleged thought process when discovering and ordering facts, as well as his own experiences living in central Europe... but, to be honest, I soon found those sections very annoying and merely a mechanism for extending the novel's page count.

The majority of people would agree that Nazism was bad, and senior Nazis like Heydrich were particularly bad. Nothing new there. The novel is very predictable in that it does not attempt to diverge from this in any way; there are no character contrasts, no insights, nothing that would make you reflect deeper upon that period of history.

A 5-minute browse of Heydrich's wikipedia entry would ultimately give you pretty much the same information, and save you a lot of time.

I hate to be so negative; writing any book is a feat worth celebrating but on this occasion I felt somewhat short-changed.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By russell king on 6 May 2014
Format: Paperback
The book tells the fascinating story of the parachutists assassins dropped in to occupied Czechoslovakia and their target the truly evil Nazi Reinhard Heydrich. I knew nothing of the tragic history and it opened my eyes to another chapter of the Second World War. It was pleasing that the author chose to help us remember so many unsung heroes. However it was also one of the most irritating books I have ever read. After reading the plaudits of the critics I had to turn to Amazon to find some reviewers with opinions similar to my own just to check my sanity. The author gives a self-indulgent running commentary about his inner feelings, girlfriends, the difficulty of writing a historical novel ( I have no idea why he insists on calling the book a novel) and what each of the protagonists might be feeling at any given moment. It makes for painful reading which might be enjoyed by people who like reading blogs where the writer tells you he is about to light a cigarette. The back cover critics acclaim that the book is “casually postmodern”. Please give me modern or pre- modern any day.
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37 of 41 people found the following review helpful By Withnail67 TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 5 May 2012
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I spent my Honeymoon in Prague one crisp and clear December, and among the happy memories, I recall coming across the Saints Cyril and Methodius` Cathedral in the middle of the city. What caught my eye wasn't the architecture, but the figure of a World War II `British' paratrooper, depicted by a statue outside the cathedral, surrounded like a saint's statue by lights, candles and flowers, next to a window pulverised by ancient bullet holes.

Like the author of this utterly compelling and innovative novel, I began to read about Operation Anthropoid, the story behind this book. In a popular media haunted by glamorous and glamorised accounts of special operations, the story of the assassination of Reinhard Heydrich still speaks of the creeping terror of resistance operations, and the un-faded horror of the revenge killings executed by an utterly ruthless regime.

The malign genius of the story remains Heydrich, the quintessential Nazi, like yet unlike so many of his superiors and peers. He was not merely a sickeningly twisted inadequate, but had an icy glamour, being a compelling, intelligent figure as well as an amoral force. The story of his assassination and its motivation is dominated by the fear that such an able and lucid man would seize control of Germany's armed forces if anything happened to Hitler. Allied governments feared the power of the Third Reich would be dominated by someone who actually knew what they were doing. A supreme commander who might listen to his generals was too horrific to contemplate. This, combined with the pressures, compromises and anxieties of the Czech government in exile in London, led to the parachute drop of two soldiers, one Czech, one Slovak, on a lonely mission to rid Czechoslovakia and Europe of a tyrant.
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