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The story of a lost film about the relationship between Adolf Hitler and the English aristocrat Unity Mitford

‘A wonderful novel, written with exceptional knowledge and understanding of past and present Germany’ Gitta Sereny

‘The most intriguing and thought-provoking novel I have read this year’ Daily Express

‘A remarkable, unsettling book’ The Times

‘A gripping read packed with intrigue, sex, politics and death. What more could you possibly want?’ Attitude

Unity tells the story of a lost film about the relationship between the English aristocrat, Unity Mitford, and Hitler, set against the background of the Red Army Faction terror campaign in 1970s Germany. Shooting has to be abandoned when the leading actress, Felicity Benthall, joins in the campaign, following her affair with a charismatic Palestinian.

The author himself features in the narrative when, almost thirty years later, he attempts to uncover the truth about Felicity and another university friend, Luke Dent, who wrote the film-script. He consults Luke’s letters from the set and the diaries of the former Hollywood child star and revolutionary socialist, Geraldine Mortimer, who played Diana Mosley; interviews two of the German actors and the film’s producer, Thomas Bücher, an Auschwitz survivor turned high-powered pornographer; reads a revealing memoir by the director’s widow; and corresponds with Carole Medhurst, a British actress turned Hollywood mogul.

Their testimonies set up an intricate chain of associations from 1930s Britain to post-war Germany, painting a disturbing picture of corruption and fanaticism, and casting light on the nature of evil.

Reviews

A wonderful novel, written with exceptional knowledge and understanding of past and present Germany
Gitta Sereny
The most intriguing and thought-provoking novel I have read this year
Daily Express
Highly intelligent . . . well worth reading
Sunday Times
Farce and intensity blend in a deftly layered version of Hitler's legacy . . . Michael Arditti ambitiously tackles the theme of human evil in the history of Europe over the past seventy years. He does so with a touch both curiously light and unambiguously earnest
Guardian
Strikingly original in form . . . a remarkable, unsettling book . . . a compelling fiction
The Times
What is astonishing in Unity is the grim wit and ironic humour which pervades this deadly serious page-turner . . . the reader staggers away from this uncompromising drama of ideas shaken and stirred
Independent
Chilling in the extremity of its import . . . hugely ambitious in its scope, Arditti's novel examines the events and personalities that shape moral character
Financial Times
Remarkable . . . a strange and engrossing story that has powerful resonances with our own era
Daily Mail
The purpose . . . is to understand the human appetite for gratuitous cruelty . . . the final section . . . debates this with a Dostoevskian intentness. The author's love for his creations [is] the only possible antidote to the loveless anti-human behaviour that Unity has been courageous enough to confront
Times Literary Supplement
This is a deftly written, deeply intelligent and wholly admirable book, full of good ideas and sharp historical sidelights
Literary Review