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Gotz and Meyer

C

The world has its share of Holocaust novels, and rightly so. There’s a moral imperative in producing art whose purpose is to prevent future genocides. Still, is it too much to ask that such books be more readable? David Albahari’s Götz and Meyer is narrated by an unnamed Serbian literature teacher who becomes obsessed with the two Nazi officers who exterminated several members of his family in mobile precursors to gas chambers. As the narrator begins to lose his sanity — imagining himself as a German officer, then as a victim — Albahari seems to be warning against the urge to suffocate onself with history. But since it’s composed of one continuous, often repititious paragraph that runs over 167 pages, the novel is ultimately an exercise in exhaustion.

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