Sort of Idiot

  • A journey back in time to the universe of the East Berlin artistic dissident scene before the fall of the Berlin Wall
  • Shortlisted for the German Book Prize 2022
  • Winner of the Wilhelm-Raabe-Literature Award 2022
  • English Sample translation available

Jan Faktor has written a wonderfully playful, sparkling, sometimes dark, and anarchic picaresque novel. At the center: a headstrong narrator, writer, native Czech, and gifted moron, and the memory of a life in which nothing ever turned out as expected.

The moron’s story begins in Prague, after the Soviet invasion. On the advice of an aunt, the young moron studies computer science, but he doesn’t last long. Instead, he has his first grotesque romantic experiences, gets bored in an office for statistics about lies, and finally delivers army bread rolls. After a memorable encounter with the “Teutonic horde,” which includes his future wife, he “emigrates” to East Berlin, immerses himself in the weird, political underground scene in Prenzlauer Berg, is surprised by the “ideologically morphinized” GDR and the events around the fall of the Berlin Wall, and finally discovers his passion for the band Rammstein.

From the beginning, this retrospect is also shot through with darkness: the trace of the son who chooses suicide at the age of 33, and whose early death will make everything become unhinged.

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  • Publisher: Kiepenheuer&Witsch
  • Release: 08.09.2022
  • 400 pages
  • ISBN: 978-3-462-00085-6
Joachim Gern

Jan Faktor

Jan Faktor, born in Prague in 1951, abandoned his computing studies and took on a variety of jobs in Prague and Slovakia. He completed a university course and worked as a computer programmer in Prague. In 1978, he joined his wife in East Berlin, working as a kindergarten teacher, mechanic and translator. Until 1989, he was active almost exclusively in the alternative literature scene. Jan Faktor’s experimental articles from this period were published by Aufbau Verlag in 1989, when he also became a member of the Bielefeld Colloquium Neue Poesie. In the 90s, his work was published by Gerhard Wolf Januspress. His debut novel Schornstein was published in 2006. He was awarded the Alfred-Döblin Prize for the novel’s manuscript.

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