Review: The Invisible Land, by Hubert Mingarelli

Hubert Mingarelli was a brilliant writer of short fiction and this is the third novel of his I read this year. His previous books, set during the Russian Civil War and the Second World War, tell simple stories of small groups of men, with the horror and violence of conflict mostly in the background. This book, set in Germany in the weeks following the Allied victory in 1945, is quite similar. It tells the story of a photographer who decides to take a road trip with a British army soldier. He has decided to take pictures of German families, posed in front of their homes. He never explains to his driver or to us why he is doing this; it is not clear if he knows himself. Though a very short book, it moves slowly as nothing much happens. The two men drive around, they eat their rations, they sleep in their car, they experience the weather, they meet a few Germans. It is the least interesting of the three Mingarelli books, but probably still worth reading as he’s always a thoughtful writer, full of compassion for his characters.