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The Indian Tomb Paperback – September 20, 2016
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About the Author
Novelist, Screenwriter, Thea von Harbou (1888 - 1954) was a powerhouse of creativity during her life. She is best known today for the screenplays she created with and for the German-American director Fritz Lang between 1920 and 1933, including arguably the first two modern, feature-length science fiction movies ever made: Metropolis (1927) and Woman in the Moon (1929). She wrote The Indian Tomb in 1917, and it was a sensation in Germany, reprinted numerous times, and selected to be adapted as a film three times over four decades.
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Special hat tip to the translators' preface, which is easily the most interesting part of this particular version of The Indian Tomb. Thea von Harbou was a feminist ahead of her time and later an advocate for Indian independence, yet she was unfortunately stuck in Nazi Germany and definitely a product of her era. A complicated and fascinating individual! Thus the translators' preface is an invaluable (and eminently readable) lens for taking in this historically significant gem.
The book is a fun read. There is plenty of dialog, as befits this narrative. The perspective of the protagonist is the only perspective you're offered, and so the perception of the setting, surrounding, characters, and conflict are from the narrow view of our "hero".
The translation I'm sure is literal. The English makes for a very easy read--more modern than classical. The story itself crescendos at the very end with a nice climax and resolution. I believe the ending could have been longer though--the last chapter seemed truncated, and I'm not sure if this was the intent of the author, or perhaps she just was tired of writing this story.
In any case, for fans of early 20th century literature, this makes for an interesting twist by providing the German perspective of post-war Europe (and pre-war) and the growing empires during that time. The story itself is interesting, and the translation is excellent. All in all, a recommended read.