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Book Review: Look Who's Back by Timur Vermes

Look Who’s Back by Timur Vermes

Black humour is the key to the success of this satirical novel. And what a premise! Adolf Hitler wakes up in an abandoned lot in modern-day Germany, his clothes reeking of petrol with no Eva in sight. Confused and disorientated he makes an unlikely friend in a local newspaper agent, who thinks he is an actor, despite Hitler protesting otherwise. It’s not long before he is picked up by a TV show and before he can blink, videos of Hitler have gone viral on the internet and everyone wants a piece of him.

If you keep in mind that this is a very satirical novel, I think it works on many counts. The author studied Mein Kamph, so Hitler’s speeches and his bizarre polices come across as genuine, but his rants are made funny by everyone around him who refuse to take him seriously because they think he is a method actor. Hitler comes across as a complete nutcase as he updates himself with the modern world, but still dreams of taking charge in the future and launching war to further the Fatherland. Look Who’s Back also examines modern day media with hilarious moments. Parts of the novel is laugh-out-loud funny, but other parts made me uncomfortable, which I am sure was the intention of the author who certainly doesn’t gloss over the misery that Hitler inflicted on the world. This is a unique novel – I’ve never read anything else like it before.

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