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[Book Review] 'Look Who's Back' by Timur Vermes

look whos back timur vermes

Imagine Adolf Hitler waking up in Berlin in 2011.

He sees a different Germany and wonders what has become of his efforts back in the day. Later on, the fuhrer gets mistaken for a method actor and becomes a comedian known for his grumpy remarks about the country and the foreigners. People also think he is taking things too far by not taking a break from his character.

A brilliant premise, right? I think so, too. However, I am not completely sold to it because of its poor execution.

Hitler’s Character

I get it. He is confused and torn because of so many things. Perhaps it won’t be easy for anyone to just wake up one day with things not going according to your plans. So when Hitler becomes grumpy and rants a lot here, I kind of understand where he is coming from. But what I don’t get is his sudden shifts to just being understanding and actually accepting things as they are. Come on. While I sense that this is the writer’s way of fleshing out the character and showing his other side, I think it could have still be improved.

Slow Narrative

In fiction classes, I learned that a writer should avoid dropping too many details, especially if they don’t help the story move forward. Otherwise, the narrative gets really slow, some of its parts becoming boring. Unfortunately, that happens a lot here. In fact, I sometimes feel as if I were reading a mere history book or some other informative material and then, all of a sudden, ask myself, “Wait, so what’s the story?” Sure, give a backgrounder. Provide a historical context. Yet, make sure the story still moves forward.


In all fairness to this novel, it’s made me laugh. Therefore, it lives up to the expectation when it comes to the level of humor. The descriptions and dialogues are also good. In my head, I can clearly picture Adolf Hitler as he rants in front of the camera.

The project is so ambitious and while I have issues with it, I still would like to commend Timus Vermes for having written material.

Perhaps, I could have enjoyed reading this more if I weren’t a creative writing graduate. Because yes, I might have just been over-analyzing.

(Image from Hachette UK)
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