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Author Laurent Binet
Language French
Genre Historical fiction
Publisher Grasset & Fasquelle
Publication date
Published in English
Pages 440
ISBN 978-2-246-76001-6

HHhH is the debut novel of French author Laurent Binet. It recounts Operation Anthropoid, the assassination of Nazi leader Reinhard Heydrich in Prague during World War II. It was awarded the 2010 Prix Goncourt du Premier Roman.[1]

The novel follows the history of the operation and the life of its protagonists – Heydrich and his assassins Jozef Gabčík and Jan Kubiš. But it is also interlaced with the author's account of the process of researching and writing the book, his commentary about other literary and media treatments of the subject, and reflections about the extent to which the behavior of real people may of necessity be fictionalised in a historical novel.[1][2][3]

The title is an acronym for Himmlers Hirn heißt Heydrich ("Himmler's brain is called Heydrich"), a quip about Heydrich said to have circulated in Nazi Germany. It was suggested as a title by Binet's publisher, Grasset, instead of the "too sci-fi" working title Opération Anthropoïde. The editor also requested the cut of about twenty pages criticizing Jonathan Littell's Les Bienveillantes, another novel about the SS in World War II that was awarded the Prix Goncourt in 2006.[4] The Millions published the "missing pages" in 2012.[5]


HHhH was translated into English by Sam Taylor. It was published in the US by Farrar, Straus and Giroux on 24 April 2012 and in the UK by Harvill Secker on 3 May 2012. The Icelandic translation by Sigurður Pálsson was published in Iceland by JPV in 2014.

Awards and honours[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "Le prix Goncourt du premier roman attribué à Laurent Binet pour HHhH.". Le Monde. 2 March 2010. Retrieved 17 October 2010. 
  2. ^ Riglet, Marc (7 May 2010). "HHhH, entre "je" et "nous"". L'Express. Retrieved 17 October 2010. 
  3. ^ Sulser, Eleonore (13 February 2010). "Heydrich en personnage de papier". Le Temps. Retrieved 17 October 2010. 
  4. ^ "L'histoire de HHhH". L'Express. 6 April 2010. Retrieved 17 October 2010. 
  5. ^ "Exclusive: The Missing Pages of Laurent Binet’s HHhH". The Millions. 16 April 2012. Retrieved 1 May 2012. 
  6. ^ John Williams (January 14, 2012). "National Book Critics Circle Names 2012 Award Finalists". New York Times. Retrieved January 15, 2013.