The German lieutenant, Peter Enge, deserts in June 1944 just as the allied troops are landing in Normandy in Operation Overlord. He deserted because he has met a French woman with whom he is in love. But during his escape he encounters obstacles that he had not foreseen. He becomes seriously injured and is kept in French captivity. Fifty years later a Norwegian author is finishing a story about the German soldier. A grandchild of the French woman searches him out, and he works through what happened, both in his dreams and in his imagination. He gets to find out about the German’s growing up in Germany, with a father who admires Hitler and a mother who is in love with a Jewish writer. Young Peter is devastated by the stories and ideas the adults give him, and is drawn towards a picture of a black sun about to swallow a yellow one, and he feels forces inside him that favour evil.
Overlord is a novel about being guilty and the sense of guilt, which moves on an individual, collective and metaphysical level. It is very similar to a crime story, but it is perhaps more of a love story which never gets completely told.
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