Reasons to kill God follows war criminal and thought-to-be-dead Nazi, Klaus Hermann as he is taken to court after being caught by the authorities in South America. He is allowed, as a last meal kind of deal, to write down his life story before he is executed, and off we go.
We start with his escape from Germany before we arrive in South America, and from there we get insight into the rest of his adult life, the women he courts, the children he sires, how he lives, what he thinks and how he ends up being caught. It’s a good book, there’s definitely an exciting story here, but it’s not without issues.
The book has been translated to English and though I’m happy to forgive issues that arise during translation, I can’t really attribute them all to just that. The writing is often elegant and almost beautiful, but at times this falls completely through. It felt like there was a sudden change in style, almost as if there are two different authors.
There are far too many exclamation points as well as ones doubled with question marks which make the dialogue seem unnatural. I can deal with angry, shouting characters, but not constantly and not when asking normal, everyday questions. There’s also often a jump from scenes that are separate in time and space, without any paragraph or indication that these should be separate. There’s also no stylistic difference between dialogue and thought, which made it difficult to discern that some things are internal, until you get to the “he thought” at the end of a sentence. This often made me confused, having to backtrack.
Whole sequences of the book are about Klaus’ son when he’s off on his own, but the book is written in first-person from Klaus’ perspective so how does he know what happened to his son if he wasn’t there? It’s obviously written from an omniscient point of view, but this confused me for a while because I still thought we were seeing the story from Klaus’ perspective.
There’s a thrilling story to be found here and I quite liked the way it came together by the end. It makes you think, makes you wonder, as well as just entertaining you along the way. But it was at times a struggle to grasp it.