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Review: Laurent Binet deftly juggles Nazis and war heroes in 'HHhH'

Review: Laurent Binet deftly juggles Nazis and war heroes in 'HHhH'

HHhH
A Novel

Laurent Binet, translated from the French by Sam Taylor
Farrar, Straus and Giroux: 336 pp., $26


Laurent Binet tackles the story of a Nazi and the two Czechoslovakian war heroes who set out to assassinate him and writes a marvelous, charming, engaging novel. But he's not quite sure how he feels about that.

The awkwardly titled "HHhH" won the 2010 Prix Goncourt du Premier Roman, the debut-novel version of France's highest literary prize. Binet is a history teacher who had previously published a memoir, and the very project of writing a historical novel sits uneasily with him, a tension that is an essential...

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