Monday, 2 March 2015

Vermes, Timur "Look who's back

Vermes, Timur "Look who's back" (Er ist wieder da) - 2012

I have always wondered what my grandmother, who died in 1982, would think if she came back to earth today. What would she think of people walking around in a town, obviously talking to themselves. What would be her idea when she saw an internet shop? What sort of things are they selling there? And what are these weird little black or sometimes colourful boxes everyone stares at all the time.

Timur Vermes went one step further. He brought the worst person back ever, Adolf Hitler. What would he think about today? Hopefully he'd be disappointed in the fact that his dream did not come true, that nobody believes in his "values" anymore. The author describes it in a somewhat funny, satirical way and even though I like the idea of this, reading it gave me a sort of shiver, a strange sort of feeling.

I hope he would see a Germany where foreigners or any nationality, religion, and colour, are welcome. Were gay people are treated the same way as everybody else. Where nobody minds the gypsies. Or someone with a different kind of political idea. Because the Nazis discriminated against anyone belonging to any of these groups. And many more. My own grandfather was called a communist, only because he wasn't a Nazi and had said so pretty openly.

I remember thinking about this a couple of years ago when our new government consisted of a female (!) divorced and remarried chancellor (replacing one who had been married four times), a gay vice president and foreign minister, an Asian born finance minister, a handicapped finance minister, and several women. Hitler would not have approved of any of them and I am happy that none of his "values" matter anymore today, that their knowledge and expertise mean more to us than their private lives.

I usually enjoy alternate history books, after all, my favourite one is "The Children's War" and "A Change of Regime" by J.N. Stroyar where we just assume the Nazis had won the war. But in that story we all learn how bad that would have been for everyone.

Still, this novel is well written and keeps you in suspense. I'm still not too happy with it.

From the back cover:

"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.

Look Who’s Back stunned and then thrilled 1.5 million German readers with its fearless approach to the most taboo of subjects. Naive yet insightful, repellent yet strangely sympathetic, the revived Hitler unquestionably has a spring in his step."

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