The Assault is a historical novel written by Dutch author Harry Mulisch. The novel was translated and published in English in 1985 by Random House. The story is partially based on a true event that happened during World War II.
The Assault tells the story of a man called Anton and his past, which shapes how he is during the story. The beginning of the story shows how the Nazis killed Anton's family's neighbors, and the man in the other family turned out to be a Dutch collaborator. Next, the Nazis killed Anton's family one by one, but luckily, Anton was the only survivor. Anton tries to forget his past and move on by working, marrying, and trying to have a good life, but each time he tries, coincidences during his life reveal more and more about his past, until he understands what happened on the night his family was killed. He also knows more about the Dutch collaborator. Unfortunately, these events all affect his life emotionally and mentally, and he could never find happiness after what happened that night.
Mulisch's novel became popular in such a very short time that it was translated into many languages and received many positive reviews. A movie was done reflecting the novel and this movie won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. It earned a 3.7 out of 5-star rating on Goodreads, and one of the reviews it received from a reader says "Fabulous book. Intelligent, well-crafted, gripping story, beautifully translated."
John Updike from The New Yorker says: "With the cool passion of a scientist, Mr. Mulisch scrapes rust from the Forties' steel hell and gives violence its anatomy". Lastly, John Gross from the New York Times gave the review: "At one level, the book can be read as a detective story, of the superior Simenon variety, with intriguing twists and turns and a definite solution. It is also a morality tale (though one that doesn't point out any easy moral), a dark fable about design and accident, strength and weakness, and how guilt and innocence can overlap and intermingle."