Is it a stretch to think that the uprising of some of today's organizations here in America, such as the Tea Party Patriots, one that is based on fear and misinformation, could compromise democracy? I won't offer an answer, but couldn't help think about the possibility while reading Craig Nova's The Informer (Shaye Areheart Books). Quite likely, one of the reasons for such a consideration to cross my mind was in response to the reaction by these self-described conservatives toward the passing of the Health Care Bill where some shouted the "n" word at Congressman John Lewis, used disparaging epithets at Representative Barney Frank, spitting on others, making death threats and breaking windows. What correlates is why Nova started writing The Informer.
Nova said, "The book began when I was thinking about George Orwell and his idea that people don't look at the facts and then make up their minds. Instead, they make up their minds and then look for facts to support what they already believe." Similar to what is happening across our country, Nova takes what happened in Berlin, starting in 1930, and brings to life a cast of characters--some honest and wanting nothing more than to be loved, others violent and distrustful while all are affected by the Weimar Republic.
There's a certain mood that runs through this novel--a noir-like mood shaped by notable writing, bringing the reader into a dangerous place, one that often mirrors our land of the free and home of the brave, except the free have become enslaved by an agenda and the brave radically react out of fear-mongering. At times, I wanted to skim over words, paragraphs, in an attempt to bypass what was sure to come, but putting on blinders cannot change history while it can often force us to repeat it, which is not a new concept but bears repeating. In addition, if I had done that skimming, I would have missed sentences like this one that so accurately described the condition: "It was as though she spoke to them through a curtain of fatigue."
Unlike so many of the less-than profound novels being published today, one must pay attention when reading The Informer, but that may be asking a lot of our fast-food society, one that is willing to believe in fallacies in order to satisfy its hunger for control. Yet, putting aside the political aspects, if one appreciates "a dark but fantastic novel," as how John Irving describes The Informer, and an intriguing murder mystery, which had one murder in particular that caught this reader off guard, it's worth the effort of reading a writer who knows how to give substance to an admirable narrative. And if we somehow see the similarities between Berlin then and America now and suddenly realize that we could just as easily fall into that same frightening lockstep, perhaps the novel will do more than simply tell a good story. One can only hope.
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