Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Review: Look Who's Back by Timur Vermes

What if Adolf Hitler suddenly appeared in 21st century Berlin? That's the premise of this cheeky novel by Timur Vermes which soon became a bestseller in its home country, before being translated into English and proving itself to be quite the hit here as well. In Look Who's Back, the author takes quite a few jabs at political correctness, while it details Hitler's rise to popularity again, this time as a "comedian" who soon becomes a sensation on television and YouTube for his uncompromising, hit hitting views.

It is difficult to for me to form a firm opinion on this book. On the one hand, as a dark comedy that takes a stab at political correctness and as something that moves past the legend to examine who Adolf Hitler may have been as a person--flawed, uncompromising and surprisingly charismatic--it does rather well. There are also some interesting questions raised about politics, human nature and how many people can be so easily swayed.

On the other hand, it does not adequately address many of the horrific things that occurred during World War Two such as the happenings at Auschwitz concentration camp. Or maybe that is the point. To allow the reader to laugh along with the protagonist and not think about the tainted past that lurks in the background. In any case, as satire this one works rather well.