The Zone of Interest
is a 2014 Novel by Martin Amis
. The story is set in the Auschwitz concentration camp between the years 1942-43, with an epilogue in 1948. It is told through three rotating PoVs: Angelus 'Golo' Thomsen, an outwardly easygoing womanizer, who slowly begins to grapple with his role as a "Schreibtischtäter"
, Paul Doll, the camp commandant, who spirals ever deeper into delusions to justify his actions and to uphold his manhood, and Szmul, a Jewish inmate who prolongs his life by working as the head of the Sonderkommando
This work contains examples of:
- The Alcoholic: Paul Doll
- Anti-Hero: What Thomsen ends up as, at best.
- Arc Words: References to "Walpurgisnacht".
- The Atoner: Thomsen becomes this, first trying to sabotage the factory, and later working for the Americans on de-nazification
- Bilingual Bonus: There are a lot of German words and phrases in the book, especially in Doll's narratives, and only a small number of them are translated.
- Bittersweet Ending: While both Thomsen and Hannah Doll seem to have found a measure of happiness in their lifes after the war, the circumstances under which they met each other make their relationship impossible
- Chivalrous Pervert: Thomsen
- Cold-Blooded Torture: Mobius and Dr. Entress excel at this.
- Face Death with Dignity: The Polish workers, because their families are threatened with death if they resist.
- Fan Disservice: The book goes to great lengths to portray most sexual situations as unpleasant as possible.
- For the Evulz: The whole book is a Deconstruction of the question of "Evil" and human agency in the context of the Holocaust.
- Gas Chamber
- Historical Domain Character: Naturally, many are mentioned or briefly appear, and Martin Bormann appears prominently in the story and is cast as Thomsen's uncle.
- Industrialized Evil: In a way, the whole point of the Kat Zet.
- Mercy Kill: Szmul lures away and quickly kills a boy who used to be a friend of his son.
- Mood Whiplash: Is sure to swiftly follow after every comic situation.
- My God, What Have I Done?: Paul Doll's last words.
- Nazi Protagonist: Two out of three.
- Posthumous Character: Dieter Krüger
- Rage Within the Machine: Thomsen's attempt at sabotage, Hannah's attempt to undermine her husband.
- Translation Convention: The liberal use of German is quite inexplicable from a diegetic perspective.
- "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue: The epilogue starts by recounting the fate of most characters. It's usually death.
- Your Days Are Numbered: All the Sonderkommandos live with this certainty. Later, Paul Doll explicitly tells Szmul when he is going to be killed.