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The Rules of Perspective by Adam Thorpe
At the beginning of The Rules of Perspective, it's April 1945 and shells from the advancing American Army destroy the Kaiser Wilhelm Museum. The American unit, led by Corporal Neal Parry, discovers burnt corpses and paintings inside the museum. One painting remains undamaged, and Parry, thinking it's an original masterpiece, sneaks back later to cut it out of its frame and takes it with him. The Rules of Perspective then shifts to tell the story of the musuem and its Acting Acting Director Herr Heinrich Hoffer, one of the corpses Parry finds. Hoffer used bribes to keep himself out of the army so he could protect the artwork in the museum. The Nazi party's campaign against "degenerate works" forces Hoffer to doctor his inventory list and hide famous artworks from destruction or pilfering by officers. As the tale of the two men converge, but Hoffer and Parry find their lives undone by the world of art and their own shortcomings. Adam Thorpe's novel has received mostly positive reviews with the Independent saying, "While none of the characters is especially appealing, there is a psychological truth to all of them, and the novel is a genuinely worthy and interesting addition to the genre. It is about the cost of art as much as the cost of war, and the value of human life compared to the value of a painting - a question that lies at the centre of this uncomfortably challenging book."