According to himself he is the biggest author the Dutch have at the moment. Every year he waits eagerly to hear about the Nobel prize in literature, each year he is disappointed, though obviously he will never admit it. It is true that he has written some very good books. The assault/De aanslag is one of the classics in Dutch literature. The movie based on the book won an Oscar years ago. Mulisch must be really good.
This book is a short novel and based on the story of Jules Croiset, a jewish actor who faked a kidnapping. This was all in the aftermath of a controversial premiere of a play by Rainer Werner Fassbinder. 2 big chapters and a small interlude, as if it were a play, describe the situation of how this story could have happened, through the eyes of the two main characters. It is difficult to keep realising yourself that the story is fiction, not what actually happened, though both stories resemble each other a lot. Mulisch does know how to draw somebody into a book, I had to read the book all in once. And it does give a plausible explanation how someone could become so obsessed with something that he even wounds himself to prove that the kidnapping was real. Still a explanation, not the explanation. Good story, good timing, good sense of history.