Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Why Rommel and Patton?

The two never meet. What's more, due to the eagle eyes of a certain young reconnaissance pilot, Rommel doesn't even appear in the second half of the novel.

Should be Kluge and Patton, right? Better yet: Kluge and Monty.

The least convincing part of the book - even less than the Churchill/Eisenhower dialogue - is Roosevelt's argument that Patton should negotiate with Kluge:
          “But Franklin.” Churchill protested, “he’s caused trouble wherever he’s been. Talks too much, hits soldiers in hospitals.”
          Roosevelt laughed. 
(No one chortles in this novel. To be fair, two chuckle.)

Churchill has a point. Even in a book written by an admirer, Patton comes off as a hotheaded blowhard and asshole. But Roosevelt wins his case because of the general's flamboyant dress: "Patton will have on his best shiny helmet, his battle-dress jacket will be flowing with ribbons, he'll have on his cavalry jodhpurs, riding boots and spurs. An on each hip will be a beautiful ivory-handled revolver.”

Kluge, of course, wears Hugo Boss.

And to think the Nazis lost the war.


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  2. Brian! Stan's not finished! You're ruining everything!

    But yes, Rohmer continues to entitle his books by what doesn't happen in them. Based on Rommel and Patton's contributions to the great "what if" of the novel, this one could have been called Cheryl Ladd and Pac Man.

    See HTWAB$ for his theory of titling. All will be revealed. As opposed to the secrets of actually writing anything, which are barely discussed at all.

  3. Oh, man. Chris is right, Stan.


    You weren't expecting Rommel to get up out of his hospital bed, were you? Perhaps fly about the globe attending meetings?


    On the subject of titles: Why Hour of the Fox? The American title, it makes even less sense. The Fox - Desert Fox, really - plays no role whatsoever in the rising action, the climax or the dénouement.

    Which hour are we talking about, anyway?

    Trivia: When first announced, the title for the novel was The Rommel Legacy.

  4. I don't want to spoil any more surprises from HTWAB$, but he was working on the Rommel book when he wrote it, and I think he was thinking alternative history, where Rommel makes a deal with the allies, and ends the war in the west. Ah, the book Rohmer never wrote. The Alberta Oil Man in the High Castle.