Look Who’s Back by Timur Vermes (4 out of 5)
That’s a pretty iconic cover to just sail by. This book came out mid-summer of 2015, and no one in Burr Ridge, except that one person who actually bought it, picked it up and gave it a chance. Matt, my coworker, was enamored with the concept of the book and we had it on top of the “New Releases” shelf to try to get it some attention. I said “I’ll check it out”, but buried under the 47,000 books I have to read, it got put back on the shelf. Until the other day- it was pulled to go back on a publisher return. When that happens, our owners give us an even bigger discount on those books if we buy them. So I did. And now I have to take the book to work and pass it onto Matt, because I’m positive he will love it. The premise alone is enough that someone should give it a shot. And no, it’s not a sympathetic anything toward Hitler. It’s a largely satirical look at how the Fuhrer would have survived in today’s world- with the technological advances bordering on ridiculous, with the mundane everyday such as newspapers and televisions, and even more comically, what it would mean to someone like Hitler. In this case, for the reader, it means a lot of chuckling and some true moments of profound thought. Yes, profound thought. And I’m reading it? What the hell…Right?
In a nutshell, this is speculative fiction with a historical bend. A highly satirical and darkly humorous look at what would happen if Hitler somehow survived his suicide attempt and woke up in today’s world. Looking like he did, talking like he did, keeping the moustache and hair intact, what happens when the overwhelming stench of gasoline on his uniform leads him into this scary new dry cleaning place, and with a veritable of opportunists around him talking him into ventures of doubtful social media platforms- like Youtube, for example. It is as funny and profound at times, as you believe it would be. Don’t let the historical record sway you from reading this entertaining take on The Fuhrer. Vermes does a great job keeping the facts intact, but he takes some liberties with some of Hitler’s more outrageous inner circle (Goebbels? Just wait). Vermes couldn’t go wrong with this premise- everyone in Berlin in 2011 believes he’s a method actor, a master impersonator. It’s the type of book that I thought would be the sort of thing someone would be offended by, and likely that person is out there somewhere. I wasn’t offended in the least. I was fixated by the back and forth struggle of today’s Hitler vs the 1945 version. And while there are moments where the ranting, raving Hitler made my head hurt, there were a lot of moments where he appears lost in today’s world and you can’t help but feel a morsel of sympathy for someone so out of touch with what the future holds for someone who didn’t survive it. Get your head out of your ass and read it. It’s a seriously good read.