Look Who’s Back, by Timur Vermes
When Adolf Hitler mysteriously awakens in a park in modern day Berlin, disoriented and alone, he is befriended by the proprietor of a newspaper kiosk, before being discovered by a television producer who takes him for a method acting satirist and gives him his own TV show.
Timur Vermes is a German writer; this copy of his novel is the English translation.
Part satire, part farce and part fantasia, the novel is a study of how the political and the cultural intersect in modern society.
The novel’s most controversial aspect is its main selling point: Adolf Hitler as narrator. The reader is given plenty of political rhetoric from the former Fuhrer, as well as his insights into the state of modern Germany.
Key themes and motifs
- The place of satire in culture and whether horrific historical events can ever be acceptable in comedy
- Immigration and national identity
- The role of politics in society
What’s to love?
If ever a book sold itself on a premise, it’s this one. The idea of Adolf Hitler reappearing in today’s world is an interesting one, and the author never shies away from the difficult or distasteful aspects of the character or his actions.
The cover art is also striking in its simplicity.
Unfortunately I was detained from my research by an urgent communication. Someone with whom I was unacquainted had turned to me with a military problem, and as I was currently without a state to govern I decided to lend my comrade my support. Thus I spent the following three-and-a-half hours engaged in a naval exercise by the name of ‘Minesweeper’.”
As the central storyline of Hitler reappearing in the modern day is the novel’s hook, so it is also its biggest problem. Hitler’s status as one of the most vilified leaders in history means that a satirical novel featuring him as the protagonist is certain to be controversial, offending many by its premise alone. Interestingly, this idea is reflected in the book in the way the public is divided in its response to Hitler’s television show.
Read it if you enjoyed
- One for fans of intelligent satire
Find out more:
Look Who’s Back on Amazon (affiliate link)
Look Who’s Back on Goodreads