Frederic Raphael

The True History of the Heydrich Plan

HHhH

By

Harvill Secker 336pp £16.99 order from our bookshop

His title, both catchy and unpronounceable, declares Laurent Binet’s determination at once to grab the reader’s attention and proclaim his originality. We are promised that HHhH, a German acronym for Himmlers Hirn heißt Heydrich (‘Himmler’s brain is called Heydrich’), was a quip current in Nazi Germany. Confirmed rumour has it that the title was suggested by Binet’s publisher, Grasset, instead of the ‘too sci-fi’ Opération Anthropoïde. The diplomatic Grasset also suggested removing a long attack on Jonathan Littell’s The Kindly Ones, which won the Prix Goncourt a few years ago. Binet’s account of the assassination of Heydrich duly won the Prix Goncourt for the best first novel of 2010. 

Follow Literary Review on Twitter