'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.' Bret Easton Ellis
Two men have been enlisted to kill the head of the Gestapo. This is Operation Anthropoid, Prague, 1942: two Czechoslovakian parachutists sent on a daring mission by London to assassinate Reinhard Heydrich, chief of the Nazi secret services, 'the hangman of Prague', 'the blond beast', 'the most dangerous man in the Third Reich'.
His boss is Heinrich Himmler but everyone in the SS says 'Himmler's brain is called Heydrich', which in German spells HHhH.
All the characters in HHhH are real. All the events depicted are true. But alongside the nerve-shredding preparations for the attack runs another story: when you are a novelist writing about real people, how do you resist the temptation to make things up?
HHhH is a panorama of the Third Reich told through the life of one outstandingly brutal man, a story of unbearable heroism and loyalty, revenge and betrayal. It is improbably entertaining and electrifyingly modern, a moving and shattering work of fiction.
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HHhH is a highly original piece of work, at once charming, moving, and gripping -
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 -
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 -
By the time I got to the last page of Binet's masterpiece, I had to close my eyes and rethink history. I'm rethinking it still -
Laurent Binet has given a new dimension to the non-fiction novel by weaving his writerly anxieties about the genre into the narrative, but his story is no less compelling for that, and the climax is unforgettable -
A wonderful, ambitious book, and a triumph of translation -
A suspenseful work of absolute originality -
A genuine tour de force - L'Humanite
A great success... a terrifying story... a breathless thriller - La Provence
More than just a book... Laurent Binet not only tells a story, he shows the story itself being written. HHhH is a major novel, a feat of prowess, and a literary accomplishment - La Vie Littéraire
A master stroke - Le Figaro Magazine
HHhH is an astonishing book... absorbing, moving, for the agony and acuity with which its author engages the problem of making literary art from unbearable historical fact -