Book burning

The book as narrator: The Pages, by Hugo Hamilton, reviewed

It is a truism that a book needs readers in order to have a meaningful existence. Hugo Hamilton’s The Pages both develops and inverts that relationship. It not only tells a story to its readers; it tells the story of its readers. To paraphrase its own words, it accumulates their inner lives. It becomes the agency that drives them — in one case to his death. The book is Joseph Roth’s 1924 novel Rebellion, which depicts the fate of the disabled soldier Andreas Pum in the chaos of post-war Germany. The copy in question was rescued from Goebbels’s book-burning by a literature student, Dieter Knecht. It has come into the