Spitzen-on-the-Dien. Imaginary German village in which the new Germany is to be born. The novel opens and closes in 1945 in Allied-occupied Germany with a first-person, neo-Nazi narrator, Zizendorf, declaring that the town is an idyllic place. Ensuing descriptions, however, are anything but idyllic. The season is winter, and a thick fog hovers over everything. The town’s architecture has been destroyed—broken mortar and bricks are strewn about, walls are pock-marked and smashed, and buildings teeter at precarious angles. Supporting beams are charred, and a sense of permanence has given way to instability. In fact, the very earth has been scorched and rendered unproductive.
Fires burn along the town’s curbs, and excrement pits smolder and send noxious gases through the air. Wells have been poisoned, and the nearby canal is thoroughly polluted and odious. Carcasses of animals and flimsy tar-paper shacks dot the landscape. Banners, which once celebrated warriors marching off to victory, now lie in mud, and a few of those same soldiers, now ragged and defeated, trudge home with venereal disease. All the citizens are clothed in drab gray, and the prevailing imagery suggests feebleness and sterility.
Most inhabitants stay indoors, but those who are active suggest a society of cruelty and destructiveness. Two parallel plots unravel in the night. In the one Zizendorf and three accomplices string wire across a road to snare the motorcycle-bound Leevey, a lone Jewish American soldier in charge of a third of Germany’s territory. In killing this overseer, Zizendorf believes he is inaugurating a new, invigorated Germany, free of oppression. At the same time, a figure named...
(The entire section is 708 words.)