Deighton's 592-page magnum opus, his richest novel in years and perhaps best ever, avoids his familiar spy-thriller format...

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WINTER

Deighton's 592-page magnum opus, his richest novel in years and perhaps best ever, avoids his familiar spy-thriller format and spreads before us a tremendous mural of the family life of a German industrialist and his children from 1900 to the Nuremberg trials. Harald Winter, a diamond-hard industrialist, makes a fortune by providing aluminum for Count Zeppelin's airships. Harald is married to an American heiress, and his once-failing factories have been rescued by his wife Veronica's multimillionaire father. Of his sons by Veronica, Peter is the favorite and younger Pauli much maligned. Throughout the novel, Pauli forever fights for his father's love and never gets it, even to his father's dying day, despite the fact that Pauli, a Nazi lawyer, often puts his life at risk to save Peter, who himself marries an American Jewess. Pauli drops out of family life, while Peter becomes the obvious inheritor of Harald's great works. When Hitler's pogrom against the Jews begins in earnest, and Lotte, Peter's wife, is imprisoned for forging passports for Jews, Peter goes to America to implement her release via diplomatic channels. Being part American, Peter becomes an agent for U.S. intelligence. Meanwhile, Pauli saves Lotte from being sent to certain death in a concentration camp and hides her out in an attic with other Jews. Eventually the brothers are reunited in the ruins of Germany during the Nuremberg trials, though by then most of the family is dead. Magnificently costumed and detailed with period cars, music, foodstuffs, and with review of the legal code through the decades. The rise of the Nazis is handled brilliantly, and character reversals at novel's end pay off strongly, even though--despite Deighton's skill--we do not feel deeply moved by anyone's fate (except perhaps Veronica's). And everyone, including soldiers at the front, speaks a well-laundered language. Still: Deighton has striven here to create a novel of character, and the result is the Everest of his books.

Pub Date: Jan. 5, 1987

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 1987