Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Look Who's Back by Timur Vermes!

He's Back... And He's Führious

This summer has been a great period for me to catch up on my reading. When I'm at Uni I don't really have the time to just read books of my choice for my own enjoyment, but since summer has come around I've managed to get through quite a few books. The most recent book that I've read was Look Who's Back by Timur Vermes. 
As you can probably tell from the front cover, this book is about Hitler. More precisely, Hitler waking up in 2011 in modern day Germany. The author's description of the book goes as follows:

"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 refused 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."

It was definitely the cover that caught my attention and made me decide to buy this book. I mean, a book with the unmistakable face of Hitler plastered across it - you just know it's going to be an interesting/entertaining book. And it was. It was very entertaining. Not to the point where I was laughing out loud mind you, but the dialogue between Hitler and the people of the entertainment business in modern day Germany was very witty. It's also pretty impressive that the author had the guts to write and publish something like this. Hitler is a pretty taboo subject, let alone the fact that he comes back in this book and tries to win over the German public again, and becomes a celebrity because of who he is and what he says.
Despite the controversial topic, the book is quite an easy read. Maybe I just wasn't reading enough into it as many reviews paint it as a "thought-provoking book", but I just saw it as an entertaining, easy, unrealistic read. I know Hitler magically waking up alive and well in 2011 is obviously unrealistic, but it was the fact that no one seemed to catch on that something was wrong throughout the entire book that was unrealistic to me. I mean for someone who they think is just a Hitler impersonator, he never breaks character. Not even for one second. Wouldn't they think that was odd? And some of the things he says is so outdated and strange and yet everyone just kind of gives him a weird look and then moves on. Also the fact that he has no passport, no home, can't tell anyone anything about his past because he doesn't know and yet no one seems to focus on this. On top of that, people throughout the book keep on saying "it's almost like you were the real Hitler"and instead of protesting that he is or getting confused as to why they keep saying that when he obviously is he doesn't say anything. I just think it's strange that for the 2-3 years that this book is set in, no one becomes the least bit suspicious. Another thing that I find strange about the book is that it doesn't try to explain the fact that he magically appears alive and well some 70 years later after his supposed death. It doesn't even attempt once during the whole book to explain this. And Hitler doesn't even care about trying to find out what happened to him or why he just accepts it and moves on.
Lastly, although the book is entertaining and a good read, I don't particularly like the ending. More precisely, I don't like how there isn't an ending. Nothing happens it just kind of...ends. The last line is"I think we can work with that." Maybe like I said before, I wasn't reading enough into it and there is supposed to be this foreboding feeling that he is gaining popularity and increasing his plans to create a new Germany and there's this possibility of it playing out to be as it was in the 1930s.. but I don't think there's enough of that possibility present in the final chapter to come to that conclusion and therefore the book does just kind of end. A bit disappointing. But maybe I'm wrong!

Definitely an entertaining book and one which many people think is "thought-provoking" and "the best book of the year" and so on, so you should definitely give it a read. For me, however, it wasn't my favourite book that I've read this summer

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