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The Zone of Interest
A novel
Written by Martin Amis

The Zone of Interest
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Category: Fiction - Literary; Fiction - Cultural Heritage; Fiction - Historical
Imprint: Knopf
Format: Hardcover
Pub Date: September 2014
Price: $26.95
Can. Price: $
ISBN: 978-0-385-35349-6 (0-385-35349-9)
Pages: 320
Also available as an eBook.



 
From one of England's most renowned authors, a riveting new novel that provides a searing portrait of life in a Nazi concentration camp.

Golo Thomsen, a young official with important relatives in Berlin, has recently arrived in "the Zone of Interest," the name given to the outer perimeter of the camp at Auschwitz. Here he promptly falls in love with the most inappropriate person: the beautiful wife of its brutish commandant. Meanwhile, a Jewish man who has proven useful to the Germans reckons with the tragic turn his life has taken, if he can even call it a life anymore. In a novel powered by both wit and pathos, Amis gives us an unflinching look at how proximity to these atrocities can reshape a person's soul.  Is love possible in such a place?  And is anything, in fact, not possible?  The Zone of Interest reveals, ultimately, who we really are.

“A dark satire [that] creates a chilling sense of the banality of evil [and] builds to a haunting conclusion that slams home the horror of the Holocaust.” —Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times
 
“For Amis, ‘the zone of interest’ enclosed not only the darkest secrets of the Nazi genocide but also those of human nature.” —Tova Reich, The Washington Post  
 
“Simply put, a masterpiece. . . Profound, powerful and morally urgent. . . a benchmark for what serious literature can achieve.” —Anthony Marra, San Francisco Chronicle
 
“Elegant and subtle. . . an intriguing, sophisticated effort to understand the daily culture of genocide.” —Lydia Millet, Los Angeles Times
 
“It felt as though I had touched a third rail, so powerful and electric is the experience of reading [a] book that may stand for years as the triumph of his career.”  —Alan Cheuse, NPR
 
“Essential reading. . . A haunting indictment of the people who willingly bought the party line of racial purity and ethnic cleansing, this novel is as audacious as it is chilling.” —Barbara Love, Library Journal (starred review)
 
“Brawny and urgent, it’s unmistakably Amis. . . an indelible and unsentimental exploration of the depths of the human soul.” —Kirkus (starred review)
 
“Amis took on the Holocaust obliquely in Time’s Arrow.  Here he goes at it straight, and the result is...an absolute soul-crusher of a book [and] brilliant.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review)
 
“How to write fiction about the Holocaust that reveals in new and significant ways its systematic horror and impossible legacy? Amis accomplished this feat in Time’s Arrow, and now this brainy, intrepid, worldly, and virtuosic writer does it again by ushering us into the poisoned minds of characters trapped in the death-spiral of the Final Solution. . . . An audaciously satiric and brilliantly realized tale about personal angst and mass psychosis, and the immolation of self and soul.” —Donna Seaman, Booklist (starred review)
 
The Zone of Interest is a tour de force of sheer verbal virtuosity, and a brilliant, celestially upsetting novel inspired by no less than a profound moral curiosity about human beings.  It's stunning.” —Richard Ford
 
And acclaim from the United Kingdom:
 
“It is a work of artistic courage, chilling comedy and incontestable moral seriousness.” —Rebecca Abrams, Financial Times
 
“The best thing [Amis] has written since London Fields. The book’s postwar coda is enormously moving, the sections describing the ‘silent boys’ of Chelmno almost unreadably sad, the figure of Szmul brilliantly rendered—at once admirable and horrifying in his desperate drive to survive. . . . This is a novel that will endure.” —Alex Preston, The Guardian
 
“Exceptionally brave. . . an extended rumination, a nightmare. . . . It's exciting; it's alive; it's more than slightly mad.  As the title suggests, it's dreadfully interesting.” —Theo Tait, The Sunday Times
 
 “Auschwitz was, in the most essential sense, ‘unspeakable’. It’s thus something only creative writing can speak about. If you’re Amis, that is. . . . The most daring novelist of our time.” —John Sutherland, The Times
 
The Zone of Interest may be his greatest book; it is that good. . . . It is inventive, awful, testing and, like Picasso’s Guernica, incongruously beautiful. Would that Primo Levi were around to read it.” —Alan Taylor, Herald Scotland
 
“Nasty, timely, as good as anything Amis has written since London Fields. . . . He has done his subject justice.” —The Spectator
 
“Surely his masterpiece. . . Intelligent, terrifying and comic. . . Amis has tackled the biggest questions with imagination and intelligence, and the ultimate strength of this masterly novel is that he knows, and shows, that although there is no answer to the questions Auschwitz poses, we must never stop asking them. Read it, ponder it—revel in it indeed—then read it again.” —Alan Massie, Scotsman
 
“Brilliant: a technical and aesthetic tour de force that takes us inside the minds of the Germans who managed Auschwitz.” —Bryan Appleyard, Sunday Times
 
“Highly cerebral and innovative, and also human, humane—even humbling—this is a brave, inquiring work from a literary maverick whose biggest problem as an artist has been his rampaging talent. He has certainly harnessed it here.” —Eileen Battersby, The Irish Times
 
“The novel poses the question that will forever haunt the 20th century: how did the most cultivated nation the Earth had ever seen give way to such infamy, ‘such wild disgrace’? . . .  Amid the horror of the so-called ‘selections’ and ‘aktions’, amid the relentless grind of the Nazi killing machines, humanity somehow survives, and so does comedy.” —Anthony Quinn, Mail on Sunday
 
“There are never stereotypes, no identikits, no stasis. . . The past, it reminds us, is never over. One-sided fights form part of today’s continuous present. Look around you. The Zone of Interest exposes the soul of that operation. It is, by a distance, one of Amis’s finest books.” —Scotland on Sunday
 
“Heartbreaking. . .  He writes superbly but with an unusual modesty. . . He lets his story speak for itself and the result is the best Amis novel in two decades.” —Jake Kerridge, Sunday Express
 
 “It is energetic, deeply researched, it is bracingly cruel. . . It makes the reader squirm and resist and finally laugh. . . A superb novel, an important one. . .  Where was the career-crowning work that might finally win this author his Booker? Seriously, look no further.” —Tom Lamont, GQ [UK]



ABOUT THE AUTHOR

 
Martin Amis is the author of thirteen previous novels, most recently Lionel Asbo; the memoir Experience; two collections of stories and six works of nonfiction. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.





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