Lots of initial promise, a very interesting storyline, but ultimately a little disappointing. I find Kanon fascinating if only because he had a full career as a book publishing executive, then turned to writing when he was in his 50s (I'm guessing, based on the pic on the back cover.) His other work includes the very well-received The Good German
, and the era of the mid-'40s to early '50s seems to be the focus of much of his work.
Premise is this: Ben Collier, a soldier in the US Army assigned to a unit tasked with filming the horrors that were found as the Allies moved across Europe at the end of WWII, is summoned to Hollywood to the deathbed of his older brother, a second unit director, who has either fallen, jumped, or been pushed off the balcony of an apartment he had secretly been renting. Ben is also being reassigned to work out of one of the studios, with orders to craft the military footage into a documentary film. He meets old acquaintances of his deceased father, a filmmaker in Germany, and other members of the German refugee community, including his brother's widow and father-in-law.
But as he tries to find out what really happened to his brother, he collides with the intersecting politics of the burgeoning movie industry and the new Cold War - and discovers that few of his assumptions about the world are correct.