Friday, 28 March 2014

Death in Breslau by Marek Krajewski

The July heat was unbearable.

All I knew about this when I picked it up at a library sale for 1$ was that it was a historical mystery novel that takes place in Nazi Germany, therefore reminding me of a Philip Kerr novel, which I enjoy. When I flipped it open to the first page, I was magnificently disappointed. The first sentence is about the weather which makes me wonder at the writer's skills. Beginning with weather is usually a sure sign of more cliched writing to come - and, let's be honest, is a very unimaginative way to begin a novel.

The rest of the first paragraph expands on the weather motif. It's hot, a character is sweating, flies digging convulsively, the light is merciless. The second paragraph begins with the heat again.

First thing said:

"We both know, doctor, that you cannot refuse the institution I represent."

The character looks out the window and sees the icebound panorama of Siberia, frozen rivers, heaps of snow etc. At first I'm confused, isn't it July and hot? Then I realize this is an awkward attempt of slipping in back story, or a flashback or a hallucination.

Verdict: Epic Fail

Theodore Moracht

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