This is a 1978 novel by the British novelist Beryl Bainbridge, who is playing with some fire here, but does create an interesting novel in some ways. I sometimes like her novels a lot and sometimes feel pretty meh about them, but they do tend to be audacious. This novel narrates a series of months in the life of young Adolf Hitler, living and working as an art student and visiting England on holiday and work study.
The novel follows Adolf as he interacts with his older and fastidious older brother, who has little patience for his brother. He works as an artist in England (a wholly un-artistic country in a lot of ways) looking to grow as a painter, and read in coffee shops, and of course discourse his growing fascination with the international Jewish conspiracy.
So there you have it. The novel avoids the kind of cliche that a lot of novels that fictionalize and dramatize famous figures, looking for the psychological roots for later historical decisions. Nor is this a lampoon of Hitler, ala Charlie Chaplin. Instead, it’s something in between: an attempt to take the measurement of a historical monster, to scoff and wonder at his buffoonery, and to reflect on the power and cruelty he was able to accrue in his lifetime.
This is a curious novel and almost feels like an 20th century European novel ala Kafka, Joseph Roth, or Stefan Zweig, except for the purposeful ironic anachronism of historical vantage points. It has limited success.