"Desperately funny . . . An ingenious comedy of errors." Janet Maslin, The New York Times
"Satire at its best." Newsweek
"Thrillingly transgressive." The Guardian
A NEW YORK TIMES SUMMER READING PICK
In this record-breaking bestseller, Timur Vermes imagines what would happen if Adolf Hilter reawakened in present-day Germany: YouTube stardom.
Adolf Hitler wakes up on a patch of open ground, alive and well. It's the summer of 2011 and things have changedno Eva Braun, no Nazi party, no war. Hitler barely recognizes his beloved Fatherland, filled with immigrants and run by a woman.
People certainly recognize himas a flawless impersonator who refuses to break character. The unthinkable happens, and the ranting Hitler goes viral, becomes a YouTube star, gets his own TV show, and people begin to listen. But the Fuhrer has another program with even greater ambition in mindto set the country he finds in shambles back to rights.
With daring humor, Look Who's Back is a perceptive study of the cult of personality and of how individuals rise to fame and power in spite of what they preach.
The son of a German mother and a Hungarian father who fled the country in 1956, Timur Vermes was born in Nuremberg in 1967. He studied history and politics and went on to become a journalist. He has written for the Abendzeitung and the Cologne Express and worked for various magazines. He has ghostwritten several books since 2007. This is his first novel.
Jamie Bulloch's translations include Ruth Maier's Diary, Portrait of a Mother as a Young Women by F. C. Delius, and novels by Paulus Hochgatterer and Daniel Glattauer.
Look Who's Back 4.8 out of 5based on
More than 1 year ago
Smart and hilarious!
Very smart satire of our modern world, seen through the eyes of Hitler. Sometimes provocative, always hilarious, one of the funniest literary novels. Imagine: it’s 2011, and none other than Hitler, you can have guessed from the awesome book cover, wakes up in his uniform on a vacant lot in Germany, where kids are playing soccer. He’s totally confused by his surroundings, the absence of war noises and scenes. Seeing newspapers on a nearby stand he is shocked to discover he missed the last 66 years, and tries to catch up with what happened in between.
The guy running the newsstand thinks he is one of those actors doing a Hitler documentary, except that he is really good at it and even quite natural! He introduces him to people working in the world of theater and movie.
Hitler becomes eventually a YouTube sensation and goes beyond his discomfort and shock at our modern culture to use the medias for his propaganda, hoping to be able to lead again the country one day.
This is a very smart and most hilarious literary novel. Wow, I wondered on so many pages how the author got all these amazing ideas.
I understand how upsetting this novel could be at some level, as yes there are a few passages about the Jews and a lot more on the overwhelming Turkish presence in current Germany. His analysis and critique of twenty-first century German politics can certainly not leave anyone indifferent, to say the least… Not mentioning the topic of our planet overpopulation.
This may be why the IFFP did not dare accept it on their shortlist. WWII is a very painful topic, talk to me about it: like most if not all French people, my own family had very close experience with forced labor in Germany and even concentration camps. Still, I think literature is literature and has the leeway to treat a monster with laughter.
And I believe anyway the point of this novel is the critique of our current modern world, and sometimes its stupid and contradictory elements, seen through Hitler’s eyes. As the translator highlights it so well at the end of the book,
Timur Vermes’ cutting satire offers a unique perspective on our modern, media-blotted world, in which celebrity is worshiped above all else.
Indeed, Hitler is totally confused by what he sees around him, and the way he interprets it is so irresistibly funny.
As early as chapter 1, he takes a cycling helmet for a
protective helmet, which appeared to have sustained some serious damage given the number of holes in it.
The passage on leaf blowers (chapter 10) is very good too, as well as his comments on women picking up dog turds…
I enjoyed especially how Hitler discovers the world of cell phones, ringtones, computers, and the internet.
His satire is directed to the medias in all their forms, with its ridiculous cult of personality. On a lighter side, you should go with him to Oktober Fest! (chapter 31)
To help you understand some passages that may be obscure, if you have not kept up too closely with WWII history and current Germany, there are excellent notes at the end of the book on major political figures as well as a few inside references.
The translation was so good I was never really aware I was reading a book in translation. As a literary translator myself, I know too well the aim of a good translator is to convey so well the text that no one even thinks about you.
More than 1 year ago
This is the funniest, strangesr, most amusing book. Highly recommended!
More than 1 year ago
More than 1 year ago
pooled ink Reviews:
This fantastically creative novel serves as both a black comedy and a social commentary. It is a satire that never breaks character or panders to the public. Originally written in German and adapted into a German film this book serves as a hilarious, incomprehensible, and spine-shuddering intro to possibility in a society that has long tried to leave the events of 1939-1945 far behind.
If you are at all interested in WWII, satire, or politics of present day (no matter what country you reside in) then I certainly suggest you pick up this book and/or watch this movie.
LOOK WHO'S BACK lowers your defenses with its absurdity, its comedy, and its dance with the taboo. Undeniably clever, forbiddingly hilarious, and disturbingly insightful, this is a story that can be read and understood by peoples across the world.
**Read the full review on Wordpress: Pooled Ink
More than 1 year ago
Amazing Read! ~~ This awesomely amusing and brilliant book kept me reading long until morning! A strange and funny blend of today's realities through the eyes of a bewildered Fuehrer ... I can relate! Excellent and Highly Recommended! ~~
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