What would happen if Adolf Hitler suddenly woke up in Berlin in 2011? This is exactly what Timur Vermes sets out to explore in his novel, Look Who’s Back. People react to his return by thinking he’s simply a character actor pretending to play Hitler who never breaks character. He becomes a YouTube star, has a TV show, and has a lot of strong opinions.
The novel is intended to be satirical and humourous but I felt that a lot of the time, the comedy fell flat. Timur Vermes’ novel was originally written in German so I’m not sure if some of the humour was lost in translation. However, Hitler goes on such long-winded rants that you forget what he was ranting about in the first place.Minor things were done in a way that were hilarious, such as Hitler’s assuming that granola bars took the place of good German bread and instant coffee meaning the British were blockading the seas and forcing the German volks to rely on substitutions.
The novel wasn’t all bad. It was very obvious that the author had done painstaking research. There were a lot of historical figures and military strategies mentioned. Locations of battles and descriptions of places where they took place were peppered throughout. It showed that the author wasn’t simply making things up.
Unfortunately for me, while I love history, especially world war two stuff, this novel was a chore to get through and I found myself putting it down for months at a time. I found it a bit confusing and repetitive at times. As much as I tried, the book was unable to hold my attention and keep me turning the page.