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An Unfinished Business

by Boualem Sansal

When a man uncovers the facts of his parents’ murder, he finds worse - his German father was a Nazi scientist. Told through the diaries of two brothers - Rachel who records the truth and Malrich, younger and more streetwise, seeking to understand how these revelations fit with his life on a French estate where Islamic extremism reigns – this is a sad, compelling read which epitomises the idea of the sins of the father being visited on the sons.

Extract

In his diary, Rachel says that he came back from Algeria a different man. He mentions taking me to lunch in some posh, boring restaurant. I don't remember. He says that was when he decided not to tell me about the massacre, about our parents, about his trip to Algeria and all the secrets he dragged back with him, the whole tragedy going on in his head. He probably thought I was too dumb, too insensitive, that's what he thought about me. Or maybe he was worried the whole thing would send me further off the rails. He wrote some nice things about me, the sort of things you say to people who aren't nice because you know they'll never really understand.
Translated by Frank Wynne

Parallels

Survival in Auschwitz by Primo Levi
Night by Elie Wiesel
 

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