Mark Kurlansky is a best-selling author of non-fiction books such as Cod: A Biography of the Fish That Changed the World or The Story of Salt, of which so far I read none. Instead, I picked this one for my holiday reading. Fiction. It even has this, rather standard, disclaimer:
This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are products of author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events or locales or persons living or dead is entirely coincidentalAnd this is how the story Vertical Administration begins:
Jean-Claude Aubaille was approaching his 50th birthday and it could have been said that not much was going on in his life until Deputy Führer Martin Bormann was dropped into his lap.Wait a minute (or whatever time you need to stop laughing). Now seriously: surely Bormann is not a product of author’s imagination? Most stories in this book are open-ended. Will Palle and Lanuwobi (The White Man in the Tree) ever get together again? Who was behind the mysterious “green gas attacks” (Beautiful Mayagüez Women)? Was it real Bormann? Kurlansky’s stories are humorous, poignant and unpredictable, and he leaves a lot to the reader’s imagination.