The Republic by Joost de Vries, translation: Jane Hedley-Prole
(Arcadia, 2019, 264 pages.)
Josip Brik, pop-philosopher and professor of Hitler Studies, has died under mysterious circumstances. Now it’s up to his right-hand man, Friso de Vos, to claim Brik’s intellectual legacy for himself. But there’s more to his ambition and Friso – jealous, hypochondriac, more intelligent than what’s good for him and awkwardly in love with the girl he just left –tries to sideline the competition, and in the process, tumbles into a story that is absolutely not his own. What begins as a lesson in grief and heartbreak gradually turns into academic satire, speculative history, and something of a spy novel.