Poking fun at a Nazi death camp?

Posted by John Kanelis on

What can possibly be funny about a Nazi death camp?

What in the world can a satirist say that puts the horrors of Auschwitz into something other than the hideous light of what transpired in that terrifying place?

Evan Smith's next segment of "Overheard with Evan Smith" will explore a novelist's latest work that seeks to, um, entertain the reader in a setting that causes great pain and revulsion among many people.

"Overheard" will be broadcast Thursday at 8 p.m. on Panhandle PBS. Smith, the editor in chief of the Texas Tribune, has this way of corraling some of the world's most interesting guests for his show broadcast at KLRU-TV in Austin. He delivers the goods once again.

I caught up with an interesting review of Amis's latest book, "The Zone of Interest," published on Slate.com.

It's in this link: http://www.slate.com/articles/arts/books/2014/10/martin_amis_the_zone_of_interest_reviewed.html

The reviewer, Mark O'Connell, notes: "The Zone of Interest stands as Amis’ latest reckoning with the incomprehensible darkness of 20th-century history." He's written other books about the Holocaust, such as a book published in 1991 titled "Time's Arrow," which I gather O'Connell didn't like very much. He wrote a nonfiction book about Josef Stalin titled "Koba the Dread," and O'Connell clearly doesn't like that work.

I'm not going to try to critique the review. Frankly, the interview to be broadcast Thursday night should stand on its own. I'll be curious to know whether Smith decides to explore with Amis, a Brit with a peculiar taste in novel subjects to satirize, precisely how and why he sees unspeakable human suffering as a subject that can be treated in this light.

But hey, I'm keeping an open mind.



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