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The Hungry and the Fat: A bold new satire by the author of LOOK WHO'S BACK Kindle Edition
By the author of LOOK WHO'S BACK, a radical and bold satire in inequitable times.
"Whizz-bang energy and gleeful imaginative savagery" Sam Leith, Guardian
"More than mere satire, it's a book that engages deeply" Alex Preston, Financial Times
"An immensely enjoyable read" Daniel Hahn, Spectator
"A caustic, clever satire with a powerful emotional core" Becky Long, Irish Times
"Satirical, sharp, believable . . . Brilliant" Rick O'Shea, RTE
REFUGEE CAMPS IN AFRICA ARE SWELLING
And Europe has closed its borders. The refugees have no future, no hope, and no money to pay the vast sums now demanded by people smugglers. The only thing they have is time.
AND THEN AN ANGEL ARRIVES FROM REALITY T.V.
When model and star presenter Nadeche Hackenbusch comes to film at the largest of the camps, one young refugee sees a unique opportunity: to organise a march to Europe, in full view of the media. Viewers are gripped as the vast convoy moves closer, but the far right in Germany is regrouping and the government is at a loss. Which country will halt the refugees in their tracks?
THE HUNGRY AND THE FAT
A devastating, close-to-the-knuckle satire about the haves and have-nots in our divided world by one of Europe's finest and most perceptive writers.
Translated from the German by Jamie Bulloch
About the Author
ABOUT THE TRANSLATOR: Jamie Bulloch's translations include Ruth Maier's Diary, Portrait of a Mother as a Young Women by F. C. Delius, and novels by Paulus Hochgatterer and Daniel Glattauer. --This text refers to the hardcover edition.
"You know his name. You know his face. You know his hair and mustache, which are caricatured with sharp, witty minimalism on the cover of Look Who's Back, in which a baffled Adolf Hitler is returned to the even more baffled German people. Now you'll also know Timur Vermes, whose debut novel has created a sensation in Germany. [Look Who's Back] is desperately funny . . . Mr. Vermes has created an ingenious comedy of errors in which the jokes are either on Hitler's misapprehensions about the modern world or the modern world's refusal to take him at face value . . . Read this book."―Janet Maslin, The New York Times
"Very funny . . . The frisson of reading Look Who's Back comes from its seamless transition from Borscht Belt one-liners to disturbing invocations of the legacies of Nazi rule. Mr. Vermes gives us a bracingly double-sided Hitler-the arresting public speaker and astute negotiator who loves dogs and small children, and also the fanatical champion of political violence, global tyranny and ethnic cleansing . . . Translator Jamie Bulloch helps by providing a glossary at the close of the book, but what people will remember is his perfect rendering of the ridiculously orotund, yet oddly compelling, manner of Hitler's speechifying."―Sam Sacks, The Wall Street Journal
"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] 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 --This text refers to the hardcover edition.
- ASIN : B07SNT2X43
- Publisher : MacLehose Press (January 23, 2020)
- Publication date : January 23, 2020
- Language : English
- File size : 5747 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Not Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 400 pages
- Lending : Not Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #1,571,813 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
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Top review from the United States
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Like "Look Who's Back," Timur Vermes's first book, which I loved, "The Hungry and the Fat" is biting satire just shy of absurdity. I didn't enjoy this one as much, though. The middle part sagged and dragged, so much that I almost lost interest in discovering how it was all going to play out, but then the final third or so redeemed the rest of the book. The ending was both surprising (to me, anyway) yet inevitable. The entire thread involving the embedded women's-magazine writer, her beyond-purple prose, and her absolute self-centeredness was brilliant. The conceit of not giving the names of a few of the main characters seemed arbitrary and distracting, and the descriptions of the settings outside of Germany were too vague for my tastes. The entire conceit, however, was original, thought-provoking, and in parts very very funny.
Thank you, NetGalley and Quercus, for providing me with a free copy in exchange for an honest review.
Top reviews from other countries
The book is told from multiple viewpoints, including television executives, politicians, journalists, the presenter and her migrant lover, and the brutal but effective gang boss who manages the logistics of the operation. Like the march itself, the novel has a slow start - in fact, it even drags in places. But things hot up in the last 20% as events spiral into a tense finale.
The disturbing thing about the book is that it is plausible - nothing that happens is beyond the realms of possibility. The refugee march concept is so simple it is quite surprising people haven't tried it, whilst the less-than-charitable reactions of the Europeans to the approaching convoy are all too likely. It's also important to remember this is not such a hypothetical situation - hundreds of thousands of desperate people are already trying to get to Europe now, just in a more dispersed and less visible way - and are dying in the attempt. The novel just funnels a genuine problem into a distilled and unignorable format.
As such it's one of those satires that doesn't feel very satirical. There are a couple of humorous bits but it isn't really a funny story. Challenging and thought-provoking, certainly. Gripping and hard-hitting in the last part, and a bit dull in the first part. It's true you can get away with more by framing something as a satire, and that's fair enough, but like a lot of satirical novels it's uncomfortably close to the mark.
I don't think this is as good as 'Look Who's Back', partly because I found it hard to form a strong bond with any of the characters, and the political bits are overdone. Also for readers who don't have a passing knowledge of German politics (the acronyms for the parties and what they roughly stand for - right wing/left wing etc.) will get lost in some of the chapters. I follow European politics at a basic level and had heard of most of the parties but even I didn't quite get all the subtle distinctions.
That said, it's certainly a book that I will remember reading. I'm fascinated to see what topic Vermes takes on for his next offering.