The Ventriloquists by E.R. Ramzipoor is a historical fiction book inspired by World War II true events of Belgian resistance fighters scheming to put out a satire newspaper under the Nazis’ noses. This is Ms. Ramzipoor’s debut novel.
- 544 pages
- Publisher: Park Row
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0778308154
I did not know what to expect from The Ventriloquists by E.R. Ramzipoor, but what I found was a novel which was funny, entertaining, and extremely well written. Even though this novel takes place during one of the biggest events of last century, World War II, it is purely character driven with a cast that is both likable and somewhat terrifying.
The author nicknames here characters which helps the reader keeps track of them, each section is told through the eyes of a different character, sometimes continuing the narrative from the previous one. The story is told by “The Pyromaniac”, Helene, to Eliza who is aptly named “The Scrivener”. The man who runs it all, Marc Aubrion (who existed and ran this scheme) is nicknamed “The Jester” due to his demeanor, and Lada Tarcovich, a lesbian running a whorehouse, smuggling operations, and writing erotica is nicknamed “The Smuggler”. “The Saboteur”, Theo Mullier (another real personality) is one which even his colleagues don’t know what to make of, but one you don’t cross and surprises the bunch. Martin Victor “The Professor” rounds up this gang. The Gestapo officer who is in charge of the propaganda paper, among other atrocities, is August Wolff, nicknamed here “The Dybbuk”, a Jewish folklore name for being taken over by a malicious spirit. Working for Wolff is David Spiegelman, “The Gastromancer”, a Jewish gay man whose family was murdered and has the useful skill of being a skilled forger.
This fake newspaper (as if the ones the Nazis produced was “real”) was known as “Faux Soir”, produced by the Front de l’Indépendance, a faction in the Belgian Resistance. The gang worked up plans to mass up the distribution of the real newspaper and have people buy their parody before they even realized it. A small act of resistance, when “fake news” was art. Amazingly a few issues of Faux Soir survived to this day.
The cast of characters is well written and defined, the author keeps the book going using wit and conviction to tell a story which should not be lost to history.This book was right up my alley, with enough comedy, irony and sarcasm, mixed in with the sadness that is part of the time.
A gang of journalists and resistance fighters in German-occupied Belgium are looking to turn the Le Soir, the country’s most popular newspaper from a Nazi propaganda rag, to their own satire rag. The gang is led by Marc Aubrion, a journalist a step away from being a con-man, who enjoys the bottom rungs of society.
To his aid Aubrion enlists a motley crew to help with the charade, including a Jewish gay man working as a forger for the Nazis, an industrialist, journalist, an army of kids, and a prostitute who dabbles in
The story is told through the eyes of Hellene, a 12 year old girl masquerading as a boy, who is being interviewed decades later.
Zohar — Man of la Book
Disclaimer: I got this book for free.
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