Books We Could Do Without
Norman Mailer has written a new novel, The Castle in the Forest, which will be on the shelves in late January. And I’ll be darned if PW hasn’t given it the coveted red star, meaning they think it’s a mighty good book. I have my doubts. Do we really need another parlor psychology of Hitler?
Says PW: “. . . he plumbs the psyche of history’s most demonic figure in this chilling fictional chronicle of Hitler’s boyhood. Mailer tells the story through the eyes of Dieter, a devil tasked by Satan (usually called the Maestro) with fostering Hitler’s nascent evil, but in this study of a dysfunctional 19th-century middle-class Austrian household, the real presiding spirit is Freud. . . . The novel sometimes feels like a psychoanalytic version of The Screwtape Letters . . .” (C S Lewis should sue.)
Judging from PW’s review, the source of Hitler’s personality was poor toilet training and a childhood fascination with burning beehives. The book sounds superficial and squalid, which it probably is, this being Mailer.