“…our closest ally, England, so that some day in the future we can act as one. It remains a mystery to me why that relationship never worked out. How many more bombs would we have had to drop on their cities before they realised that they were our friend?”
Author: Timur Vermes Published: 2012 Pages: 313
Look Who’s Back is a satirical novel written about Hitler waking up in 2011, to an unrecognisable Germany that is full of Turks and other immigrants and is run by a woman. Vermes’ hilarious first person perspective of the German dictator is not only realistic and thoroughly researched but brings to light all sorts of thoughts that may have gone through Hitler’s head. Whiles some may consider the book controversial, having been published in Germany, almost sixty years after WWII, the book instead allows the reader to see Hitler in a completely new light. Not only is he approachable, witty and completely ignorant of all modern things, but Vermes creates a Hitler who comes across as flawed and ultimately human. He shows us just how easy it was for the dictator to start movement and convince so many people that waging a war and killing so many was the right thing to do.
Some of the vocabulary became a little repetitive; the regular use of the insult “cretin” by Hitler became a little irritating and his younger secretary Fraulein Kromeier stereotypically used the acronym “L.O.L” which, while contrasting Hitler’s proper speech, was a little over exaggerated as a stereotype of the younger generation. Hitler’s brilliant narrative was made ever more comical when th e dictator encountered modern items which he did not understand. For example, the television:
“And as if these nonsensical antics were not enough, interruptions for advertisements, as frequent as they were abrupt, declared where the cheapest holiday could be obtained, a claim, moreover, which a large number of shops made in exactly the same way. No sane person would be capable of remembering the names of these outlets, but they all belonged to a group called W.W.W.”
By having the protagonist encounter all the new and modern technology, not only does Vermes create a hysterical situation, but is also allowed to comment on the absurdity of modern day life (such as the frequency of adverts on TV.) Finally I enjoyed this read because while I do not know a lot about WWII and its details, Look Who’s Back is written in a way that included a variety of names and places that would have been familiar to Adolf Hitler, but does not hinder your understanding in any way. The novel is written as such that you can enjoy the humour without having an in-depth knowledge of WWII because Vermes explains everything along the way. While I will not say that this book allows you to sympathise with Hitler, it does show that he was an ordinary man, capable of all the same stupidities we are, and for that I think Vermes, here, has written a masterpiece.