The Castle in the Forest: A Novel

One of my favorite books is Mikhail Bulgakov’s The Master and Margarita, a wild, imaginative, vicious satire about Stalinist Russia in particular and the modern world in general. Bulgakov imagines a visit by Satan to Soviet Moscow, where all dutiful members of the intelligentsia are atheist. Having disposed of God as a possibility, they lack the intellectual resources to cope with a visit by the devil incarnate and are therefore thrown into disarray.

Something like the events in The Master and Margarita is going on in Norman Mailer’s The Castle in the Forest. Mailer says that he is obsessed with Hitler, having been put on to the German leader by his uneducated but insightful mother when Mailer was a boy. Castle in the Forest is the first installment of a planned Mailer trilogy on Hitler’s life.


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