Twenty-three years after Ira Levin’s first novel A Kiss Before Dying (1953) Levin published The Boys from Brazil (1976), a well-written thriller novel with a very taking story which was adapted into a movie that was released in 1978. Levin had success after success with his Rosemary’s Baby(1967), This Perfect Day(1970) and The Stepford Wives (1972). On the 12th of November in 2007 Ira Levin died from a heart attack in Manhattan but leaving us with good thrillers like The Boys from Brazil.
The Boys from Brazil begins very interesting, seven men gathered in a restaurant who are introduced to a plan which is directed by “the Angel of Death”, a German SS officer and a physician in the Nazi concentration camp Auschwitz. Six men have the mission to kill 94 men which are 65 years old on exact dates. Yakov Liebermann, a Nazi hunter who runs a center in Vienna that documents crimes during the Holocaust gets informed about this whole conspiracy. The largest part of the story Liebermann is trying to figure out why this happens and how to stop it.
One of the main characters of this book was a real existing war criminal. Josef Mengele was still hiding in the jungle of Brazil when this novel was published. He died in 1979 and was buried on the name of ‘Wolfgang Gerhard’, and in 1992 they proved with a DNA test he was Gerhard and died. There was a reward of $3.000.000,- on capturing and delivering to the authority of this man. He had evaded capture for 34 years.
The Boys from Brazil is a good book which is not difficult to follow because of the simple writing of Levin. It doesn’t contain complicating links and no unimportant information which makes the book only prosy. Regrettably this novel ends in a strange confrontation and ends very quickly leaving the reader a bit disappointed of rushing an end of such a good story. Also unfortunate is that Levin misses the skill to make an atmosphere in the book which gives you a feeling of being there. The book belonged to the genre of sci-fi thrillers in the 70’s but with nowadays technology you can call is just a thriller.
Levin builds a very good story making it very exciting to read how it ends but in the 205 pages in six chapters of making it exciting Levin ends it in one chapter of only containing twenty-three miserable pages, a shame. “Astounding, such a .. Some cake or fruit?” pg. (123 – 128), a perfect example of Levin’s missing skill of giving the reader the feeling of an atmosphere. In this passage of five pages Liebermann is back from a visit and without any explanation of where Liebermann is and where he is staying he calls a friend and suddenly he is traveling to another place. But with these two points of criticism it still stays a good book which is recommended for every kind of reader. And that is the great skill of Levin, making a book interesting for everyone explaining all his bestsellers. Levin accompanies you in The Boys from Brazil through a very exciting story which contains stable characters you could easily understand. So, in brief, I had fun reading this book and I recommend it too everyone!