The Pequod Review:
Gotz and Meyer are the real names of two Nazi German soldiers who operated a truck outfitted with a carbon monoxide gas chamber that could hold about 100 people. They used it during the Holocaust to murder over 5,000 Jews. David Albahari begins with the knowledge of Gotz's and Meyer's existence, but few other facts, and narrates a story in which he imagines their day-to-day lives and thoughts. He gives them personalities, interests, minor illnesses, families, and moments of compassion at other times in the day. He speculates what happened after the dead bodies were dumped out of the rear compartment: “What were Gotz and Meyer up to at this point? I expect they were chatting with the camp commander, one of them was certainly smoking, and there was the business of crawling back under the truck and re-attaching the exhaust pipe. Little by little, the day would pass. There was always something to do.” In the ways it considers the banality of evil, Gotz and Meyer is disturbing, tragic, and darkly comic. Perhaps this type of approach to such a sensitive subject is not for everyone, but I found it engrossing and entirely original. Highly recommended.