Writer Patrick Hicks will be giving a reading on April 20th, 2015, which we recently posted about here. The Department of English is excited to announce that in addition to his reading (4/20 at 6 p.m. in Richardson 115) Patrick will be giving a master class titled “Building Characters to Last” that is open to all English students—no permission required. The class will be at 4 p.m. in the 3rd Floor conference room of ALH. Students can contact Professor Johns-Trissler at email@example.com with any questions.
Patrick Hicks’s The Commandant of Lubizec is a harrowing account of a death camp that never actually existed but easily could have in the Nazi state. It is a sensitive, accurate retelling of a place that went about the business of genocide. Told as a historical account in a documentary style, it explores the atmosphere of a death camp. It describes what it was like to watch the trains roll in, and it probes into the mind of its commandant, Hans-Peter Guth. How could he murder thousands of people each day and then go home to laugh with his children? This is not only an unflinching portrayal of the machinery of the gas chambers, it is also the story of how prisoners burned the camp to the ground and fled into the woods. It is a story of rebellion and survival. It is a story of life amid death.
This is a vividly detailed, terrifying, convincing, and completely spellbinding story rooted in those murderous events we now call the Holocaust. It is also the story of a loving, good-humored family man who each morning goes off to oversee mass homicide — a dramatic example of what Hannah Arendt once referred to as ‘the banality of evil.’ Patrick Hicks has accomplished a very difficult literary task. He has given a believable and fresh and original face to barbarism. What a fine book this is.”
– Tim O’Brien, author of The Things They Carried,
winner of the National Book Award