I had always believed my father capable of a massacre. Whenever I heard on the news that there had been a killing spree, I would hold my breath, unable to relax until it was clear that it couldn’t have been him. That’s paranoid, I know, but it’s inevitable if you grew up the way I did.
Randolph insists he had a normal childhood, though his father kept thirty loaded guns in the house. Now he has an attractive, intelligent wife and two children, enjoys modest success as an architect and has just moved into a beautiful flat in a respectable part of Berlin. Life seems perfect - until his wife, Rebecca, meets the man living in the basement below.
Their downstairs neighbour is friendly at first, but soon he starts to frighten them - and when Randolph fails to act, the situation quickly spins out of control.
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Comments about Fear:
"We grew up untouched by weapons as everyone else – but for the fact that the guns were there, which changed everything. It meant there were different possibilities – possible threats, in particular. It changed the way we thought and, looking back, sometimes inclined us towards hysteria. For me, home was a place where you could get shot"
Fear is the sixth full-length novel by German journalist and author, Dirk Kurbjuweit, and the first to be translated into English. It opens with a man visiting his elderly father in prison. Hermann Tiefenthaler is serving eight years for shooting dead Dieter Tiberius, his son Randolph's downstairs neighbour, with one of his collection of thirty weapons.
Randolph Tiefenthaler is a successful architect who is married to Rebecca, a beautiful, intelligent woman. They have two young children. When they move into their newly-purchased ground-floor apartment in Berlin, they are unaware of the basement tenant, having met only the owner of that apartment. But Rebecca says there's something strange about him…
Randolph's narrative (the account he is writing for his wife, of what led up to the shooting) relates the events with the benefit of hindsight. It's a riveting tale that is easily believable, but with a twist or two at the end that certainly turns some ideas on their heads.
Kurbjuweit touches on several topical issues: gun ownership, child abuse, the power of spurious accusations to ruin a reputation, genetics vs upbringing and social inequality. His story demonstrates the effects, on thoughts, feelings and behaviour, of unremitting psychological terror, especially when the legal system seems impotent to protect law-abiding citizens.
Randolph explains: "The courtroom was almost full; the press had reported the case in detail, and largely with understanding. The greatest goodwill, I am afraid to say was expressed by the papers I didn't normally read, but which now became my allies. A family under threat taking the law into their o
'Fear shifts our moral codes. It makes us sympathetic to violent revenge, accessories to murder. Do we want the victim to survive? No, we don't. Long after I had put this book down I still didn't. A great achievement.' -- Herman Koch 'Dirk Kurbjuweit exposes the evil lurking just below the surface of civilised life.' Stern 'A subtle and engrossing psychological thriller that gives an intelligent, carefully considered response to the question of how much our liberal values are worth when we feel our lives are threatened.' Brigitte 'High-voltage and multi-layered.' Frankfurter Neue Presse 'Fear forces us to see just how thin the delicate veneer of civilisation really is, and thus confirms it: any one of us can become a murderer.' Der Tagesspiegel 'Gripping, suspenseful and unbelievably dark...As a thriller, Fear more than holds its own against the competition. It reminds one of Dutch author Herman Koch's bestselling novels, and not only because of the moral question-How far will you go to protect your family?-at the heart of the story.' Welt 'Flawlessly translated from German by Imogen Taylor...a gripping and thought-provoking read.' BookMooch 'This is a murder story, a psychological thriller, and something more.' ArtsHub 'Using the familiar themes of neighbourly suspicion and veiled class conflict, Fear dramatically exposes how small fears and suspicions can expose and create larger tensions in society, especially within the safe domestic world of the middle-class family. Fear works most impressively as an examination of porous boundaries between order and chaos. It offers an unnerving portrait of how close many of us can come to committing unspeakable acts of violence-often motivated by a fear of violence itself.' Lifted Brow 'Fear is a smart, psychologically complex and morally acute fable of modern German society decked out in the garb of an intricate thriller...This is a wry, complex, at times disturbing survey of middle-class German life in the decades since the end of World War II.' Sydney Morning Herald 'This psychologically acute novel examines the stresses parents feel when family members are under serious threat. Some readers might even cheer Randolph's dad.' New Zealand Listener 'Kurbjuweit delivers an urban thriller and ethical minefield...[He] effectively builds the tension, while throwing barbs at classist attitudes that might be fuelling some of Randolph's reactions. Though he never comes out and asks the question, this definitely will have readers thinking about the lengths they might go to in a similar situation.' Pile by the Bed 'An indelible examination of middle-class values, relationships, masculinity, identity, violence, history and fear that comes full circle to a conclusion as shocking as it is logical. A finely crafted and disturbing psychological thriller.' Newtown Review of Books 'An effective thriller...Though he never comes out and asks the question, this definitely will have the readers thinking about the lengths they might go to in a similar situation. And facing the realisation that no matter how strange Randolph's upbringing that their reaction (if not their ultimate response) might be exactly the same.' PS News 'A compelling tale of perception and threat that reveals dark thoughts and a ripper twist.' Townsville Eye 'An exploration of maleness, beliefs and aggression.' Otago Daily Times
Number Of Pages: 288
Published: 30th January 2017
Publisher: Text Publishing Co
Country of Publication: AU
Dimensions (cm): 23.6 x 15.6 x 2.6
Weight (kg): 0.38