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Look Who's Back Hardcover – May 5, 2015
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"We're startled into a genuine laugh . . . Vermes plays all of this straight, or at least deadpan. He is not a historian, but his presentation of the minutiae of Hitler's life amounts to an impressive feat of historical research . . . the ventriloquism here is impressive . . . The most striking and provocative feature of the narrative, in fact, is not the decision to resurrect Hitler but the choice to use him as a first-person narrator - to risk telling us more about Hitler than could be known, in Forster's phrase.―Daniel Torday, The New York Times
"Look Who's Back is Hitler satire at its best . . . while there has been much debate over whether or why it's appropriate to laugh at Vermes's relentless Hitler satire, this well-researched and uproariously cringe-worthy book makes it hard not to . . . It is ultimately a sort of commentary on Hitler's first ascent to power-on the point at which a charismatic man starts being taken seriously, and what that transition entails . . . laugh-out-loud funny."―Kira Bindrim, Newsweek
"A hilarious, yet poignant look at today's world through the eyes of one of its most horrific villains . . . the political and social satires translate will through the language barrier as the translator, Jamie Bulloch, did a fantastic job in the writing."―Seattle Post Intelligencer
"Look Who's Back offers searing cultural and political commentary in the guise of a wildly entertaining story."―Paste Magazine
"[A] wickedly satiric first novel . . . Hitler is, of course, deadly serious, and the dissonance between his earnest bigotry and the vacuousness of our media-soaked age is the comic grist that propels the novel toward its truly ironic conclusion. While German journalist Vermes has a good deal to say about the state of contemporary Germany, his reach here is more universal, as he's crafted a sardonic send-up of a media and a world where the message doesn't matter so long as your ratings are high and your videos go viral on YouTube."―Library Journal
"Thrillingly transgressive"―The Guardian
"The joke is not on the reanimated Fuhrer, spouting predictably on immigrant and Jews, but on the ironic flippancy of the YouTube generation . . . rollickingly enjoyable."―Angel Gurria-Quintana, The Financial Times
"It is 2011 and Hitler is back and going viral in a darkly entertaining satire."―The Sunday Times
"Hilarious . . . The appeal of the story is our our own reaction to a monster's view of how we live today. And being chilled by our own empathy with his disgust toward the media, politicians, government and, of course, technology . . .Vermes could have made the star of this book anyone from history. He's really telling us about ourselves."―Esther Cepeda, Washington Post syndicated columnist
"Packed with wry, close-to-the-knuckle hilarity, and builds to a gloriously ironic conclusion."―Mail on Sunday
"Both funny and frightening, this is a subtle, historical study of the commanding nature of a fanatical demagogue, as well as a savage critique of contemporary western culture . . . a powerful and important book."―Sue Gaisford, The Independent on Sunday
"Very funny"―Financial Times
About the Author
Top Customer Reviews
Summer 2011. Berlin. Adolf Hitler wakes up on a patch of 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, though – as a brilliant, satirical impersonator who refuses to break character. The unthinkable, the inevitable, happens, and the ranting Hitler takes off, goes viral, becomes a YouTube star, gets his own TV show, becomes someone who people listen to. All while he’s still trying to convince people that yes, it really is him, and yes, he really means it.
There have already been mixed opinions on this one – basically surrounding the sense or not of writing what is basically a comedy of errors and making one of the most villified characters in history – Hitler – its main protagonist. Before I dived in, I read several online discussions, a few non-spoiler reviews and was intrigued to see just what all the fuss was about…
How did I find it? Well I laughed a lot, sometimes in a vaguely guilty way admittedly. Mainly in the portions that dealt with Hitler’s interactions with the media – where they are assuming he is an impersonator, of course, and he is solidly and absolutely himself. Add to that, especially in the early chapters, his despair at the state of the world – and his discovery of television cookery shows – and the whole thing is ironically amusing.
I can see it would be fairly easy to find a reason to be offended by this book but I see no need.Read more ›
I can (kind of) see why some people found this work in poor taste and questioned whether it was all right to tackle such a subject for the purpose of satire or comedy. The truth is there is no real need to feel this way. There will always be arguments from both sides. Personally, I am of the belief that we should remember what happened but we should also not lose our sense of humour.
I have read a tremendous amount of literature on the Holocaust and instead of looking at this book as though the author were making fun of something terrible in our human history why not change the perspective and look at it this way: This is a book about Hitler's perspective of our world today. Surely not such a bad thing. I think that this was the author's actual intent. It is certainly a clever idea and that alone was reason enough for me to give the book a try.
Yes, Hitler was, and still is, in this novel an ill-mannered, boorish and odious individual, but the world is filled with such people. Not all protagonists have to be likeable.Read more ›
It’s 2011 and (the real) Adolf Hitler awakens from some unaccounted slumbers and finds himself in a park in full regalia. A newspaper vendor, who has a kiosk in the park, takes him under his wing and soon sets up a meeting for him with a TV production company. They are fully of the belief that this Adolf is clearly a committed Method Actor who takes his art super seriously and pretty immediately they give him a slot on the Gagmez TV show. Adolf’s media presence balloons, just as it did in the 1930s. He soon insinuates himself into the public eye, and his appearances become the hot topic for discussion across society.
In essence this is a satirical look at celebrity and the role the media plays in bringing and then maintaining certain people in the media spotlight. It’s comical side in part stems from Hitler observing 21st century German (and international) culture through the lens of someone who has missed the build up to the modern day for the last 50 years or so. He cannily observes the politicians, there are wry comments about Chancellor Angela being a shapeless old trout; or Putin being a sop to his fellow countrymen by posing without his shirt on (remember those photos?).Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I really enjoyed this marvelous view on modern society. Vermes' combination of edgy humor and thoughtful reality make for a superb, laugh-out-loud read. Read morePublished 2 days ago
This is a very subtle and entertaining book! It really helps if you have a good background knowledge of World War 2 and especially the history surrounding Adolf Hitler... Read morePublished 4 days ago by Dwayne the Luddite
Walks the fine line between hilariously absurd, scary and offensive... kinda like Donald TrumpPublished 9 days ago by David
At first I wasn't sure how to take it. In the early stages the humour seemed puerile and contrived, but when it came to saying something about present society, and left the... Read morePublished 10 days ago by Teresa Lane
The book touches a very sensitive subject in a way never seen before. A must read.Published 15 days ago by Jose Luis
Great book if you have somewhat of a prior knowledge of the holocausePublished 16 days ago by Amazon Customer
From time to time in this clever but scattershot novel, a critic of its protagonist asks, "Where is the satire here? Read morePublished 23 days ago by Peter J. Orvetti
This irreverent, ingenious, and extremely entertaining book takes a look at contemporary Germany through the eyes of .... Adolf Hitler, who has miraculously (??? Read morePublished 29 days ago by ADAM