Title: The i Tetralogy
Author: Mathias B. Freese
Publisher: Hats Off Books
Publisher’s Website: hatsoffbooks.com
Genre: Fiction: History
Publication date: 2005
Length: 367 pages
The i Tetralogy ~ Mathias B. Freese ~ Hats Off Books ~ History: Fiction
Combining true to life characters, believable settings and a peek into the psychology of all those involved, The i Tetralogy provides a descriptive, disturbing and graphic account of fictional history.
The i Tetralogy, consists of four volumes; i, I am Gunther, Gunther’s Lament and Gunther Redux. Written from the perspective of three key characters; the Jewish prisoner, the executor and the murderer’s son, this is a bleak, but powerful and graphic fictional perspective of the effect the Holocaust had on each character. It also focuses on the legacy it left behind.
Beginning in Europe in the mid-1940’s, we visit the grim, weary life of a death camp prisoner as he silently digs the latrines, deprived of the dignity and humanity he was once accustomed to. This is a heart-rending account of one man’s inner strength and resilience, despite a weak and decaying body; and how he learns ways of being vigilant and obedient in order to avoid death.
When volume two, I am Gunther, begins, the reader will be taken aback with the change of attitude. Seeing life as a German guard, Gunther, debating the suffering and cruelty he subjects the prisoners to, on behalf of his country. Yet among his ludicrous beliefs and ideals of superiority, one can’t help, at times, feeling sorry for him, as a lost human being stuck in a world gone mad.
Half a century later, Gunther’s Lament, follows the aging Nazi, Gunther, to a suburban town on Long Island. Here we explore deeper into his wrecked and warped mind as he struggles to come to terms with his very existence, without the security the war gave him as a German guard with power.
In Gunther Redux, the story continues as it investigates the views and thoughts of his son Conrad, who is tormented by his father’s ‘previous life’ and burdened by the damaging truths of what really went on inside the death camps.
It is hard for the human mind to comprehend the full horror of the Holocaust. Telling the story through three key characters, however, provides a vivid insight into this inexplicable and shocking period of history. When I finished the book I found myself asking all sorts of questions; how did the dominant and brutal leader, Hitler, convince the Germans that they were the superior and most powerful race with such devastating effectiveness? Why did they believe in him? Can ordinary people be convinced to accept instructions to behave without decency and humanity under the right circumstances? Although this is a work of fiction, the characters are extremely true to life. The setting is so believable it almost reads like an autobiography of these three different people, making it an astounding, descriptive piece of well written prose.
The final section titled Raison d’Etre provided many answers to my questions, whilst giving me a greater understanding of Mathias B Freese’s personal views and the psychological terror of all involved during (and after) this disturbing period of history.
Mathias B Freese received his BA and MS Ed. from Queens College, New York and his MSW from Stony Brook University. He is a retired psychotherapist and English teacher. An award-winning writer and member of the Society of Southwestern Authors and MENSA, Freese is a volunteer lecturer at Holocaust centers, and leads writing workshops and seminars on experiential and psycho-spiritual approaches to inner awareness.