'The i Tetralogy'
By: Mathias B. Freese
(Paperback / 365 pages / Hats Off Books / ISBN: 1587364042 / $26.95)
Description: From novelist Mathias B. Freese comes 'The i Tetralogy' - a gripping epic that explores the nature of the Holocaust during and after the war, through an incisive observation of three pivotal characters. The varying dimensions of their moral nature inextricably link each of them - victim, perpetrator, and murderer's son. Brilliantly weaving interior monologue and external event, the quartet assays the monumental impact of the Holocaust upon i, a death camp prisoner; his Nazi taskmaster Gunther; Gunther's escape to America at war's end; and consequences upon Conrad, Gunther's eldest son. The reader ponders the risk of forgetting, of sanitizing, of "sweetening" the Holocaust.
Verdict: Before you are even a quarter of the way through this fascinating book, it is easily discovered that 'The i Tetralogy' is by far more than just another story about the Holocaust, its particular series of crimes, and the fact that it has come to stand for Evil Incarnate. It is a book, which needs to be read from cover to cover, perhaps even in complete silence, and definitely without interuption. Keep in mind though that 'The i Tetralogy' does not teach anything new. Moreover, and perhaps for those first-timers to the knowledge, author Freese clearly presents the cold and callousness with which Nazi Germany planned to exterminate the Jews as one unbroken line that started from racism. It is hard for the human mind to comprehend the full horror of the Holocaust. Telling the story through three key characters, however, provides a vivid insight into this inexplicable and shocking period of history. The book consists of four volumes; 'i,' 'I am Gunther,' 'Gunther's Lament' and 'Gunther Redux.' Written from the perspective of three key characters; the Jewish prisoner, the executor and the murderer's son, again; this is a bleak, but powerful and graphic fictional perspective of the effect the Holocaust had on each character. It also focuses on the legacy it left behind. Visting the grim, weary life of a death camp prisoner in the mid-1940's as he silently digs the latrines, volume two then allows us to see life as a German guard, Gunther. Half a century later, 'Gunther's Lament' follows the aging Nazi, Gunther to a suburban town on Long Island. And in the final chapter, 'Gunther Redux,' the story continues as it investigates the views and thoughts of his son Conrad, who is tormented by his father's 'previous life' and burdened by the damaging truths of what really went on inside the death camps. Each of the settings are so believable it almost reads like an autobiography of these three different people, making it an astounding, descriptive piece of well written prose.
Reviewed by Daniel Williams