Harry Mulisch’s, “The Assault,” like Tessa de Loo’s, “The Twins,” is a stark reminder of how long the German arm of brutality actually reached. When I used to think of the European theater of operations during World War 2 the countries that usually came to mind are Poland, Germany, Belgium, Austria, France, the UK, and Italy, but because of the two mentioned writers above and their chilling tales and stories I have now added Holland to that list which was not at all spared at all from the brutality of the Nazis.
Mr. Mulisch’s book, centers around an assassination of a Nazi collaborator as he rides home on his bike, and the repercussions the nightmarish event has on the one surviving member of the family, Anton, thirteen at the time, who was not killed like his mother, father and brother Peter.
He moves in with his aunt and uncle and becomes a doctor and carefully tries to live a normal life, but throughout his journey through life he accidentally meets people who also lived on the block where his family lived and where the assault on the collaborator took place which his family had nothing to do with it, but since the body was moved in front of their home the Nazis took revenge out on their family.
The past for Anton keeps breaking through over a forty year span and eventually he learns of what really happened on that nightmarish night.
“The Assault,”is an exceptionally written book, it is a thriller, a history lesson, and it is a reminder that the past has a way to catch up with you, even while you are trying desperately to look to the future.
I want to thank my friend Hans for sending me this amazing book, and for introducing me to such insightful and talented writers as Mr. Mulisch and Ms. de Loo.