Magazine December 22, 2019, Issue

A Post-Apocalyptic Tale with a Twist

From the cover of The Second Sleep (Knopf)
The Second Sleep: A Novel, by Robert Harris (Knopf, 320 pp., $26.95)

In 1992, Robert Harris, then in his mid thirties, a journalist and already the author of five books of nonfiction, celebrated the publication of his first novel. Fatherland was a seductive experiment with alternative history, set in 1964, with Adolf Hitler and his cronies still alive and well, presiding over the “Greater German Reich.” In the mysterious way of certain best sellers that achieve an exceptional cultural currency, the book (widely translated) and the movie based on it made Harris a moderately wealthy man, and since then he has been a full-time novelist.

In 2012, a 20th-anniversary edition of Fatherland appeared

This article appears as “After the Apocalypse” in the December 22, 2019, print edition of National Review.

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