Tuesday, August 16, 2011
Last year, my brother gave me Rosa and Shadow and Light for my birthday, two wonderful novels by Jonathan Rabb, set in Berlin between the wars. In one of multiple trips to the Strand last month (I'm spending too much time and money there, and I don't mean on the candy counter) I ran across the third book of the trilogy, The Second Son. The books are all about Nicolai Hoffner, an inspector on Berlin's police force. The Olympics are in town, but things cannot be good for a half-Jewish government employee. And they're not- they descend to hellish remarkably quickly, though not in a way you would expect. Hoffner loses his job, which is his life, only to go to Spain in the midst of the Civil War to try to find one of his sons who has disappeared there. I inhaled the book, and have since sent it to my brother so he can finish the trilogy.
It was sad saying good-bye to Nicolai. He's so lifelike on these pages, to close the last book made me feel as if I'd lost an uncle. I am hoping that perhaps the trilogy could grow to a quarter- it worked for Lawrence Durrell.
Link above to Rabb's page on Macmillan's site.