The Ventriloquists: A Novel

Written by E.R. Ramzipoor
Review by John La Bonne

World War II was fought on many fronts. One of the most important battles concerned the Germans’ attempt, in spite of their campaign of pillage and genocide, to sway public opinion against the Allies in many of the territories they had conquered. This effort is cleverly undermined in E. R. Ramzipoor’s The Ventriloquists.

When a rogue journalist, Marc Aubrion, is tasked by a Nazi official to use resistance newspapers to spread disinformation about the Allies, he decides that he will turn the tables by publishing a fake edition of Le Soir, the famed Belgian newspaper, that will poke fun at the Nazis. Though fellow underground writers aid Aubrion in his efforts, they have only eighteen days to execute their plan. Based on a true wartime incident, the novel reminds us that the Nazis were deathly afraid of the power of the written word. Ramzipoor has great fun with her cast of oddball characters, but she never loses sight of the fact that in war truth is one of the first casualties. Yet the story is told with stinging verve and a gallows humor that underscores how difficult it must have been for ordinary Belgians to stay sane through the madness of war.