PUBLISHERS OF LITERARY FICTION SINCE 1983
A Good Read for Fans of The Handmaid’s Tale.
This is a quirky, gripping and, above all, witty fantasy novel, narrated at considerable pace, with subversive elements in the story that make for even more compelling reading. Sebastian is both perpetrator and narrator of the story. Although he is deeply troubled and manipulative, the dialogues this would-be Fritzl has with Christine, the devoted vegan Elli, his sanctimonious brother Uwe, the bully from his school days, Ingo, and with several other characters in the book, are conveyed through smart, satirical, sometimes hilarious passages – almost as if, perversely, the writer is trying to evoke empathy for him. The tone of the book oscillates between light and dark, leaping from cynicism to farce to grotesque. The language can be blunt, graphic and harrowing. By the end of the novel, neither gender has come out very well. Readers with strong views on these matters should be warned to expect the unexpected.'
An exciting, nightmarish, at the same time incredibly funny dystopia that reflects the great problems of our times from climate change via the streams of refugees to religious fanaticism. The wagging index finger, that initially seems to be behind Duve's narrative, turns out, on closer inspection, to be more of a raised middle finger.
With her cool, dissecting eye the author, whose aim is to demolish Ernst Bloch's 'principle of hope', sucks us irresistibly down into the depths. Her feminist nightmare casts a quite special spell over us, even if we don't accept her dystopia.
'A novel like a slap in the face. Karen Duve's writing is so provocative and wickedly amusing that you can let your aggressions run free while reading her book.'
'Twenty years after her first novel, the most furious of the former young women's squad is scarcely humorous any longer, just logical in form as well as content. (…) Duve goes down into the cellars of the Fritzls and the heads of the Breiviks. What happens when the primacy of the one sex is seriously shaken? Do they really go over the top? Even more than the murderers and berserkers, Neo-Nazis and Islamists already do today. Duve takes all this right to the bitter end—but at least gives her readers a surprising final twist.'
'This psychological thriller fluctuates between hilariousness and brutality—and has a few surprises in store.'
'Through its underlying rage and sharpness of vision the novel develops such drive that it simply takes all stumbling blocks in its stride.'
'This radical literary experiment is a daring venture of impressive precision and vividness.'
Duve sets up a power struggle between man and woman, humanity and the environment. Her dystopia plumbs the depths of what I can take. A radical book!
At times all this—and you're ashamed to admit it—is very funny because the writing in brilliant. (…) So delightful you feel like crying with laughter.
This novel is] a sombre swansong for the West, exaggerated and furious. […] Karen Duve makes quite a few demands on the reader. It is sometimes a very amusing read, sometimes dark. Karen Duve: a fantastic woman.
Seen merely as a thriller The Prepper Room is, in part, unpleasantly disturbing, but on the whole pretty solid. Sebastian is an amusing enough narrator, his mix of haplessness and misplaced confidence working quite well, and his deep nostalgia and the ends to which he will go to recapture a lost world quite well deployed by Duve. The arc of the story is good too - a simple pop-thriller arc, with enough twists and varied characters to make for an engaging story.