Tuesday, February 15, 2022
Sunday, February 13, 2022
When I began reading The Torqued Man, I was unsure whether it would be for me, as espionage is not my usual genre. However, I do have an enduring interest in the WWII era. The Torqued Man is in two journals, one by Adrian De Groot, a minor functionary in the Nazi Party intelligence agency and a translator. Adrian comes from an impoverished family of merchants but has the advantage of a good education. Not aligned with Nazi Party politics or philosophy, De Groot hopes to keep his head down and survive. He is also used to recruit agents to infiltrate Ireland and build sentiment for a German invasion. He recruits Frank Pike (also known as Finn), a rabble-rousing IRA fighter. After becoming disenchanted with current IRA leadership, Pike joins the International Brigades and lands in one of Franco's infamous Spanish prisons. From Pike's viewpoint, Adrian's offer is a life-saver. Pike is a riotous, completely undisciplined person whose veracity cannot be trusted on any level. De Groot and Pike are unreliable narrators on an epic scale and become irretrievably entwined as the Reich falls.
The Torqued Man is a "can't put it down" adventure story of one of the most destructive eras of world history and an exploration of the human heart. It is blackly funny, profane, and entirely unexpected with characters, even minor ones, who jump off the page. It is also replete with literary allusion and, in my opinion, impeccably researched. I have always wondered how Germany went so off the rails. One can't ignore the connections to our era. If you put the worst of society, unscrupulous, immoral, ignorant, and steeped in racial animus, in charge of the house, don't be surprised when the roof falls in.
I can't imagine that The Torqued Man will not be one of the top books of my reading year. Thanks to Harper and NetGalley for an advance digital copy. The opinions are my own.