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The Boys from Brazil by Ira Levin Review

Title: The Boys from Brazil

Author: Ira Levin

First published January 1, 1976

288 pages, Paperback

ISBN: 9781605981307 (ISBN10: 1605981303)

Rating: 4.06


In Ira Levin’s gripping novel, The Boys from Brazil, a sinister plan is unfolding in South America. Dr. Josef Mengele, the infamous Nazi, has assembled a group of former colleagues to carry out his latest project—the creation of a new Reich.

When a young journalist stumbles upon this horrifying plot, he turns to the renowned Nazi hunter, Ezra Lieberman. But before he can pass on the evidence, the journalist is killed.

Now, Lieberman must unravel the mystery behind Mengele’s plan and stop the killers—six former SS men who have been dispatched to carry out their mission. With time running out and the stakes higher than ever, Lieberman must confront his own mortality and fight to prevent a new era of darkness from descending upon the world.

A haunting and all-too-realistic tale, The Boys from Brazil is a masterful work of suspense from one of the greatest writers of our time.

About the Author

Upon graduation from the Horace Mann School and New York University, Ira Levin pursued a career in film and television scriptwriting. He found success with his first produced play, a comedy about a hillbilly in the United States Air Force that launched the career of Andy Griffith.

This play was later adapted into a movie and is considered a precursor to other successful works.

Levin’s first novel, which earned him the 1954 Edgar Award for Best First Novel, was well-received and later adapted into two movies. His most well-known play, which holds the record as the longest-running comedy-thriller on Broadway, earned Levin his second Edgar Award and was made into a film in 1982.

However, Levin is perhaps best known for his horror novel, set in Manhattan’s Upper West Side, which was adapted into a film starring Mia Farrow and John Cassavetes. Ruth Gordon won an Oscar for Best Actress in a Supporting Role for her performance, and the film’s director, Roman Polanski, was nominated for an Academy Award.

Levin’s writing has been praised by Stephen King and Chuck Palahniuk, among others. Levin passed away in November 2007 due to a heart attack at the age of seventy-eight.

Editoral Review

The Boys from Brazil by Ira Levin is a thrilling and thought-provoking novel that was first published on January 1, 1976. Levin, who is best known for his classic works of horror and suspense such as Rosemary’s Baby and The Stepford Wives, delves into the realm of science fiction with this novel.

The book explores themes of nature versus nurture, cloning, and genetic engineering, and is set against the backdrop of the aftermath of the Holocaust.

The novel’s plot revolves around Dr. Josef Mengele, a former Nazi doctor who fled to South America after World War II. Mengele is obsessed with the idea of creating a new race of Aryan supermen, and he hatches a plan to clone Adolf Hitler by collecting DNA samples from the late dictator’s body.

With the help of a wealthy benefactor, Mengele sets up a secret cloning facility in Brazil, where he begins to create a group of identical boys who share Hitler’s genetic makeup.

The Boys from Brazil is narrated from the perspective of Barry Kohler, a young American journalist who stumbles upon Mengele’s sinister plot and enlists the help of Nazi hunter Yakov Liebermann to stop him. The novel is fast-paced and suspenseful, with plenty of twists and turns to keep the reader on edge.

Levin does an excellent job of creating tension and building suspense, and the novel is difficult to put down once you start reading.

One of the strengths of The Boys from Brazil is its character development. Levin creates complex and multi-dimensional characters, particularly in the case of Mengele and Liebermann.

Mengele is a chilling and compelling villain, while Liebermann is a sympathetic and nuanced hero. The novel also explores the psychological motivations behind Mengele’s actions, which adds depth and complexity to the story.

The novel’s pacing and plot structure are also well-done. Levin is adept at balancing exposition with action, and the novel moves quickly without feeling rushed.

The use of multiple perspectives keeps the story fresh and engaging, and the various subplots are tied together neatly in the end.

The Boys from Brazil is also significant from a historical and cultural perspective. The novel explores the legacy of the Holocaust and the dangers of fascism and totalitarianism, which is particularly relevant in today’s political climate.

The novel also raises important ethical questions about the limits of scientific experimentation and the dangers of playing God.

While The Boys from Brazil is a strong novel overall, it does have some flaws. Some readers may find the premise of the novel far-fetched or implausible, and the ending may feel a bit rushed or unsatisfying to some.

Additionally, the novel’s treatment of women is somewhat problematic, as they are often relegated to secondary roles or portrayed as sexual objects.

Overall, The Boys from Brazil is a gripping and thought-provoking novel that is well worth reading. It is a tense and thrilling work of science fiction that explores important themes and raises important questions.

The novel is recommended for fans of suspense and political thrillers, as well as readers interested in the history and legacy of the Holocaust. I would give The Boys from Brazil a rating of 4 out of 5 stars, based on its strong writing, engaging characters, and thought-provoking themes.