Books That Made a Difference to Ben Kingsley

In the new movie The Dictator, he plays for laughs. In real life, the actor likes his literature serious and thought-provoking. 
Photo: Philip Friedman/Studio D

Brodeck

336 pages; Nan A. Talese
"This novel about the ravages of war is based on the idea of tribalism, the hatred and deep mistrust of the Other," Ben Kingsley says. At the end of a great war, a stranger appears in a European village and begins sketching the townspeople. But instead of being flattered, the villagers turn suspicious, then hostile, then violent—and end up killing the man. Brodeck is the minor bureaucrat called upon to write a report that exonerates them. "It's a book that deals with the brutalizing effects of war," says Kingsley. "Didn't somebody say that those who do not remember the past are doomed to repeat it?"
— As told to Lesley Gaspar

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