Jew by DO Dodd

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Jew by DO Dodd

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Category: Literary Fiction
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Jill Murphy
Reviewed by Jill Murphy
Summary: Odd and dark, this short novel follows the survivor of a religious war who wakes up amongst a pile of bodies and assumes another man's identity. Exploration of the human id or Nazi porn? Bookbag doesn't know, but it's a haunting and powerful read.
Buy? Maybe Borrow? Yes
Pages: 160 Date: June 2010
Publisher: No Exit Press
ISBN: 1842433512

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A man regains consciousness to find himself stifled. Pushing and pulling at the weight on top of him, he gradually realises the horrific truth. He's in a mass grave and he's covered with bodies. He has no memory of who he is or how he came to be there. He struggles out. He finds a uniform and he puts it on. He takes a gun and he buckles on its holster. He finds a man and a woman, naked on a bed. He shoots the man. He gets into a car and he drives into town, where he's greeted as the man in charge.

His first act of command is to save a woman's life. And she seems to know him, although he does not know her...

DO Dodd creates a dark world of religious war in this book about identity and it's a ruthless read. As the Man watches the occupying force brutalise the women in the town - the men are mostly in the pile of bodies - he wonders about the power he has to affect events. And while he yearns to know who he is, he fears exposure more. Soon after saving the woman, he's doing the killing himself.

Some people are going to say this book is little more than Nazi porn. Some will say it's a dark and searing look into the depths of our collective soul. And I'll be honest with you: I don't have the faintest idea of who's right. I don't know what we are intended to take from it at all. But what I do know is that opening scene is an absolute triumph - horrific but vivid and with such draw, such power, that you're too intimately involved to even think of backing off. It's a disturbing book, no less disturbing for that it's so beautifully written. And look at the world around us: there's no use pretending that nationalism, extremism and religious fundamentalism are things of the past.

Drawing on Kafka and Conrad, this is a brave and original book for the stout of heart. And it'll stay with me for a long time.

My thanks to the good people at No Exit for sending the book.

With something this singular, it's difficult to suggest something similar! Readers might like to look at Todd T Friendly in Time's Arrow by Martin Amis.

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Buy Jew by DO Dodd at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Jew by DO Dodd at


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