The Zone of Interest | Mechanics' Institute

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The Zone of Interest
Martin Amis in conversation with Elizabeth Rosner

Book cover of Zone of Interest

The sordid brutality of the Holocaust is starkly drawn in Amis’s portrayal of the everyday lives of officers of the Third Reich, and the enablers who create and build a world of the concentration camps, slave labor, and genocide in this haunting story of breached morality, intimacies, betrayals, and defiance.

Thomsen, the nephew of Hitler’s private secretary, Martin Bormann, has a vague role as a liaison at Buna Werke, where the Germans are attempting to synthesize oil for the war effort using slave labor. He sets his sights on Hannah Doll, wife of camp commandant Paul, who is the second of three narrators as well as a drunk whose position is under threat. As Thomsen gets closer with Hannah, both of them horrified at what’s going on, conspire to undermine Paul— Hannah at home and Thomsen around the camp. Paul, meanwhile, follows up his suspicions about his wife and Thomsen by involving Szmul, the book’s third narrator and a Jew who disposes of the corpses in the gas chamber, in a revenge plot. Amis took on the Holocaust obliquely in Time’s Arrow. Here he goes at it straight, and the result is devastating. --Publishers Weekly

In 2008, Martin Amis was named by The Times as one of the 50 greatest British writers since 1945. His most well-known works are Money, and London Fields. Until 2011, he served as the Professor of Creative Writing at the centre for new writing of the University of Manchester. He has received the James Tait Black Memorial Prize for his memoir Experience and has been listed for the Booker Prize twice to date (shortlisted in 1991 for Time's Arrow and long listed in 2003 for Yellow Dog).

Photograph of Elizabeth RosnerElizabeth Rosner is the author of two highly acclaimed bestselling novels -- both of which have the Holocaust as a back story -- The Speed of Light  and Blue NudeThe Speed of Light was translated into nine languages, short-listed for the Prix Femina, and also received the Hadassah's Ribalow Prize judged by Elie Wiesel. Her newest books are Electric City, a novel, and Gravity, a poetry collection.

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