Europe Central by William Vollmann is one of the best novels that I have read in a long while. For those of you out there who too varying extents might be tired of WWII themed movies, books and computer games, I assure you that this is a cut above.
Far from D-Day worship, or simplistic, voyeuristic recounts of totalitarian terror (It does have plenty of this though), this book ranks up with Thomas Pynchon’s Gravity’s Rainbow and Vasily Grossman’s Life and Fate. Vollmann is able to echo surreal aspects and uncanny parallels of Pynchon with Grossman’s epic, sweeping narrative of personalities, and moral choice, culminating in fate with a capital F.
In short, it’s epic, weird, and brilliant. It’s history masquerading as a novel. It’s also a love story.
The book is composed primarily of short stories, some of which take place over many instalments, some take place in…
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