Review: The Boys from Brazil, by Ira Levin

Having recently read a new novel about the creation of a Nazi Fourth Reich set in 2012, I wanted to return to this classic thriller.

I noticed two things immediately: first of all, the prospects of evil Nazis unleashing another nightmare in the world was far more plausible in the mid-1970s when so many of them, including Dr Josef Mengele, were still alive and relatively young. That’s the real horror of books like this one and ‘Marathon Man’ (from the same decade) which were both made into excellent films.

The second thing I noticed is what a great story-teller Ira Levin was. The book is gripping from the first page to the last.

The book was also far ahead of its time in its discussion of the possibility of cloning. What Mengele does in this book has still not been achieved (as far as I know) with humans. But it will happen. Let us just hope that the people cloned are nothing like these boys from Brazil.