Look Who's Back by Timur Vermes

Zac's Take:

I don't remember where we picked this book up. I think maybe in a mega mall in Bangkok. I remember feeling desperate to see or hear the English language, so maybe it was later than that. Maybe it was Japan. None of this matters, really, but in this little bookstore that was in the corner of a mega mall on the bottom shelf sat the very graphic and perfectly designed cover of Look Who's Back by Timur Vermes.

Anybody who says not to judge a book by it's cover is fooling themselves. It's such an iconic image from the 20th Century. That hair. That mustache. That ego. The evil disaster that was a result of Hitler's actions.

So it's with some discomfort that we find him alive and well in a field in Berlin in modern times. Full uniform. Confused. Last memory was in a bunker. We get to see the world and how it has changed through one of history's worst demagogue. We find out that the world hasn't really changed that much since his departure. Immigration is an issue. Media is easy to manipulate. And he jumps right back into it all. I thought it was a brilliant commentary on our collective memories, and how far we will let somebody go when they fly under the guise of "comedy" or "change".

(sidenote: After reading this and discarding it somewhere in New Zealand, I purchased a copy for my dad on Amazon. When I went to visit him in Florida in October, I found it on the shelf, stole it back and left it in the Fort Myers airport expressly for the purpose of this project)


Jill's Take:

Yeh, the cover art is definitely grabbing. Truth be told, this is what compels me to pick up a book in the first place. Yeh, I'm a judger. I loved the spare use of font and color and how the designer allows one's eye to fill in the shape and come to the shocking realization of the image created. It's genius, in my opinion.

Cover art aside, I truly enjoyed this book. I think I devoured it in a very short time as I found I could not put it down. I was totally intrigued in the premise of the story and felt it was well written in a way that carried the reader through the story without being heavy handed. I loved some of the performance art quality to how people perceive this character and how he figures out how to use their befuddlement to his advantage. It's an interesting conceit to think about how Hitler would behave and be perceived in our current culture. How he would use new technology and communication tools to get his message across. And how he would/not be embraced by a drama crazed society. I did some very minor research on his cronies after reading this book and continue to be interested in asking how this man came to such power with such hateful rhetoric and so many stood by complicit in his madness. I have always wondered what I would do in that situation myself. This book and current events has given me some good fodder for considering my own actions and responsibilities to our communities moving forward, 

As a side note, there is apparently a movie or some sort of adaptation of this book available on Netflix. I've resisted watching it because, well, I don't know how I feel about that. I might just want to let this sit in words and create my own images.