Jonathan Crown’s 2014 first novel, translated into English has been on my bookshelf for a few weeks. This week I finished it. How would I describe the book? It’s a really good read. One reviewer called it “a beautiful fairy tale for adults.” I think that’s close. It’s not science fiction like the book of the same title of seventy years ago.
Sirius is a fox terrier that comes into the lives of a Jewish family in 1938 Berlin. His family escapes Nazi Germany and from there, are propelled into adventures in Hollywood, with the Ringling Brothers Circus, and amazingly, back to Berlin, where he serves as a spy on the inside at the very top of the Nazi dictatorship. How does the author manage this? Read it and see.
Historical events, especially 1940’s Hollywood and the Reich’s military failures, are woven into the narrative. The dog even has a role in the assassination attempt on the Führer. Most readers will know at least a smidgen of the history and how that turned out. So the suspense involves the title character. Will he survive those final dangers in Nazi Germany? Will he be reunited with his family? Read it and see.
The novel moves pretty quickly–it’s tightly plotted and there’s little pausing in the narrative. I’m curious about the German-language original: is more snappy and clever than the translation?