Customer Reviews, including Product Star Ratings help customers to learn more about the product and decide whether it is the right product for them.
To calculate the overall star rating and percentage breakdown by star, we don’t use a simple average. Instead, our system considers things like how recent a review is and if the reviewer bought the item on Amazon. It also analyzed reviews to verify trustworthiness.
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.
An author who wrote his first novel about the impact on 21st century of a time travelling Hitler is not someone who shies from controversy. Timur Vimes has followed up his divisive but brilliant 'Look Who's Back' with a story about refugees. A celebrity presenter has travelled to a refugee camp in sub-Saharan Africa to make a television show about the people living there. But things take an unexpected turn when she becomes involved with a refugee and together they decide to walk - along with 150,000 others - all the way to Germany. A simple and well organised initiative, the march slowly but inexorably draws closer to Europe - and tensions rise as the politicians realise the growing number of migrants might actually make it...
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.