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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A difficult subject well handled
Fiction is at its best when it forces the reader to think rather than providing merely a means of escape, and in this Massie succeeds admirably. The subject here is a difficult one and it is deftly handled. My only reservation is that the writing is permeated with an air of detachment throughout, suggesting that the author was at pains to refrain from judgment, and this...
Published 18 months ago by Impulsia

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Hmmm
I really admire Massie as a writer, and the issues he addresses in this book are absorbing, but the plot and structure are too contrived to support the weight of the debate - the number of unlikely coincidences would put Dickens in the shade; and as other reviewers have pointed out the whole thing peters out towards the end.
Published 10 months ago by Skeoghman


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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A difficult subject well handled, 6 Jan 2013
Fiction is at its best when it forces the reader to think rather than providing merely a means of escape, and in this Massie succeeds admirably. The subject here is a difficult one and it is deftly handled. My only reservation is that the writing is permeated with an air of detachment throughout, suggesting that the author was at pains to refrain from judgment, and this perhaps leaches some of the colour out of the characters. Not really what you could call an enjoyable read but an interesting and worthwhile one.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Hmmm, 26 Sep 2013
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I really admire Massie as a writer, and the issues he addresses in this book are absorbing, but the plot and structure are too contrived to support the weight of the debate - the number of unlikely coincidences would put Dickens in the shade; and as other reviewers have pointed out the whole thing peters out towards the end.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars All the horror with none of the mawkishness, 24 Dec 2012
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I will read/watch sentimental holocaust stuff with the best of them but this novel knocks all of that indulgent stuff into a cocked hat. When it comes to making a point about some of the most soul-searching moments within recent history, Allan Massie makes it without fuss or great drama. A great and powerful piece of writing.
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44 of 53 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Discovering Allan Massie, 1 Mar 2012
This review is from: The Sins of the Father (Vagabonds) (Paperback)
I am new to Allan Massie's work. It is always exciting to 'discover' and thoroughly enjoy an author and learn that there are other books to seek out!
The backstory to this book is all you need to know to send you out to buy it. Massie sets down the tale with Franz, the son of a Nazi War criminal meeting Becky, the daughter of a survivor of the Holocaust. Becky's father is blind, but recognises the voice of Franz's father. Massie cleverly explores the many powerful themes that the situation brings forward. Sins Of The Father is compelling.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars insightful, 15 Feb 2013
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i love reading historical books and this one didnt disappoint. its easy to forget the effects of the 2nd world war went on for decades. the repercussions for the families went on long after the end of the war, and this story told that well.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Penetrating Fiction, 23 Dec 2012
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Massie skilfully enables us to traverse the moral crevasses that punctuate the lives of all who genuinely struggle to find truth. A disturbing and penetrating novel.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A book of two halves, 7 Dec 2012
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I read a number of Allen Massie's novels over 20 years ago and having lived in Argentina was very much looking forward to this one.

I thought the first two thirds of the book were excellent, but ultimately I ended up caring much more about the fathers than their children and the way the book rather petered out I feel that perhaps the author felt the same way.

The book is worth reading, but is not brilliant.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Gripping and thought provoking, though last section too long winded, 25 Nov 2012
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John Hopper (London, UK) - See all my reviews
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This novel covers some of the same themes as the author's earlier A Question of Loyalties, in particular the clash between the generations involved in the Second World War and their children, and explores the theme of the effects Nazism had on both Germans and Jews and their descendants. The central character is a fictionalised version of Adolf Eichmann: here he is Rudi Kestner, an escaped Nazi living in Argentina in the early 60s. His son, Franz, who knows relatively little of his father's past, falls in love with Becky, daughter of a blind Jewish economist Eli Czinner, who has an unusual past in having been a senior adviser to the German Government until as late as the end of the 30s, before being sent to Auschwitz. Czinner recognises Kestner's voice when the families of the young lovers meet and sets in train a process that involves the capture of the latter, his dispatch to Israel and trial. The bulk of the novel details the effects of this decision on the members of the families and others. This was mostly quite gripping, though I could have done without most of the extended final section which documented the characters' love lives in later years.

There are some powerful points in the novel, for example:

one character's explanation for the popularity of Hitler: "He represented the shadow, the inferior part of everybody's personality, in an overwhelming degree, and that was another reason why they fell for him."
and an explanation as to how ordinary people can come to accept the deaths of millions:

"hatred is felt as liberation. When you hate, everything is permitted to you and you become an avenging God. It doesn't matter what the object of your hatred is: Jews, Arabs, queers, women, the poor, the rich, blacks. As soon as you admit your hatred you are filled with what I think must be exultation. The object of your hatred becomes automatically your inferior, your enemy, your prey."
4/5
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An interesting read, 14 Nov 2012
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I enjoyed this book although I felt there was an attempt to enlighten my thinking rather than entertain. In parts this becomes annoying, a bit obvious and self conscious, however the story line just about holds up despite the characters not seeming real, rather like actors chosen to play a part rather than real people you can relate to. The change of pace at the end is interesting. All in all a good read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Title explaining all, 8 Nov 2012
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Mrs (Louth, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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A great read explaining how children's lives are influenced by what their parents have done. It also implies we should try and learn from the past and sometimes forget individual sins and forgive them instead of seeking retribution which can sometimes hurt the seeker for justice as much as the sinner. A thought-provoking read.
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The Sins of the Father (Vagabonds)
The Sins of the Father (Vagabonds) by Allan Massie (Paperback - 20 Feb 2012)
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