A different perspective on the Holocaust is presented in this novel by Algerian author Sansal. Rachel and Malrich Schiller, two brothers from a remote village in Algeria who now live near Paris, learn that their parents have been brutally murdered by Islamic fundamentalists. When Rachel returns home, he finds papers, medals, and documentation hidden by his father showing that he was a German soldier and chemical engineer who worked at Auschwitz and other death camps. Shocked and bewildered, Rachel travels to every location where his father had lived or worked, and his life gradually unravels as he is overcome with guilt and confusion. Drifting, uneducated, and poor, Rachel's younger brother has been involved with jihadists looking to enlist gullible young men as holy warriors. But after becoming acquainted with his family's tragedy, which opens up a new world for him, Malrich begins to see through the easy answers offered by the local imam and his terrorist allies. VERDICT This is a valuable addition to the canon of the Holocaust and an interesting look into the underworld of Islamic extremism in the European immigrant community.
By Jim Coan