No career in modern American letters is at once so brilliant, varied, and controversial as that of Norman Mailer. In a span of more than six decades, Mailer has delved into subjects ranging from World War II to Ancient Egypt, from the march on the Pentagon to Marilyn Monroe, from Henry Miller and Mohammad Ali to Jesus Christ. Now, in The Castle in the Forest, his first major work of fiction in more than a decade, Mailer offers what may be his consummate literary endeavor: he has set out to explore the evil of Adolf Hitler. The narrator, a mysterious SS man who is later revealed to be an exceptional presence, follows the young Adolf from birth through his adolescence. En route, revealing portraits are offered of Hitler's father and mother, sisters, and brothers.
A tapestry of unforgettable characters, The Castle in the Forest delivers its myriad twists and surprises with astonishing insight into the nature of the struggle between good and evil that exists in us all. At its core is a hypothesis that is employed with stunning originality. Norman Mailer may well be saying more than he ever has before.
"Mailer arrives at a somber, compelling portrait of a monstrous soul." (Publishers Weekly)
"This remarkable novel about the young Adolf Hitler, his family and their shifting circumstances, is Mailer's most perfect apprehension of the absolutely alien. No wonder it is narrated by a devil. Mailer doesn't inhabit these historical figures so much as possess them." (The New York Times Book Review)
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- Peter Mangiaracina
Mailer's Swan Song