Reviews of Boys From Brazil, the (1976)
Review by nzilla (2004-10-10)
A thoroughly average thriller. It's certainly compelling enough for you to fly through it in a sitting or two, but no suspense is ever really built. We learn almost nothing about the protagonist. The fact that he was in a concentration camp and that he lost his family in the Holocaust is barely mentioned at all. The absence of any detail is amazingly conspicuous. Likewise, the villains aren't nearly fleshed out enough and are little more than comic book Nazis. We spend a fair amount of time in their head, yet we explore little of how their minds work. Levin fails to make the villains especially unlikable, and that's pretty pitiful considering the subject matter. There are so many missed opportunities that could be done with the concept. How about a single sentence dealing with how the titular boys deal psychologically with who they are? The "ironic" twist at the very end pretty much ruins all of the legitimate science fiction in the book. Not terrible, but pretty mediocre. 5/10
Review by branko (2003-07-04)
A very suspenseful book, even more so because you constantly realise that this could have happened for real. The Liebermann charachter is of course modelled after the famous nazi hunter Simon Wiesenthal, one of the few privately operating persons who constantly put his life at risk by chasing dangerous criminals. Yakov Liebermann works alone, which makes what he does even riskier, but he finds friends in strange places.
According to the Wikipedia article on this book ( http://www.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Boys_from_Brazil ), which, incidentally, I started and others have improved, this is one of the first novels to 'deal seriously with the prospect of cloning'. This is my second favorite among the Levin novels, the first being A Kiss Before Dying.