August 11th, 2015

muse

Book 74: Look Who's Back by Timur Vermes

Book 74: Look Who's Back .
Author: Timur Vermes, 2012. Translated from the German by Jamie Bulloch, 2014.
Genre: Political Satire. History. War.
Other Details: ebook. 352 pages.

Berlin, Summer 2011. Adolf Hitler wakes up on a patch of open ground, alive and well. Things have changed – no Eva Braun, no Nazi party, no war. Hitler barely recognises his beloved Fatherland, filled with immigrants and run by a woman. People certainly recognise him, albeit as a flawless impersonator who refuses to break character. The unthinkable, the inevitable happens, and the ranting Hitler goes viral, becomes a YouTube star, gets his own T.V. show, and people begin to listen. But the Führer has another programme with even greater ambition – to set the country he finds a shambles back to rights. - synopsis from UK publisher's website.

This was selected by one of my reading groups and I do admit that I was uncertain about it from the start. I did at times find it a difficult read given its narrator's unapologetic stance on his attitudes and actions. It certainly was the darkest of satires. Some of the aspects of the novel relating to German popular culture were hard to relate to though the Translator's end notes were quite illuminating in terms of this aspect and I wish I had read them earlier.

It did generate plenty of discussion at our group meeting including whether it went too far. We all agreed that it succeeded as a satire on contemporary media in all its forms. Timur Vermes also incorporated a good deal of historical detail on the rise and fall of the Third Reich.