Hamsters in the Backwater
- SPIEGEL Bestseller – highest position #1
- #5 on Austria's ORF List of Best Books (October 2020)
- 2.3 million copies sold of his previous books
- English sample translation by Jen Calleja available
What happens when a health crisis rips you abruptly right out of the thick of life? Can telling stories help? Can humour heal? The now 50-year-old actor and storyteller Joachim Meyerhoff finds himself caught up in an unexpected drama: He is admitted to an intensive care unit in an emergency. He, who had always relied on physical exertions to feel alive, the “blond bomb”, as he was called in childhood, for whom self-detonation was a life elixir, suddenly finds himself hooked up to machines in a hospital bed on the outskirts of Vienna. An existential situation that is difficult to bear.
He describes the attack, the ride on the ambulance that seems to last forever, the diagnosis process and the extremely slow treatment and recovery phase in his usual entertaining, self-ironic yet thoughtful way. Life is put on hold and everything is off balance. Lying in hospital, he reflects on life in general, his own course of life and the people he loves. And he starts thinking about the future in a more concious way.
Yet, as existential as the situation may be, it is also replete with absurd incidents and encounters. The narrator’s hospital stay turns into a time full of stories and the people closest to him. He also meets several fellow patients who take some getting used to, an impressive neurologist, and even wild hamsters. When he is released from the hospital, nothing is the same as it was before.
"Meyerhoff once again succeeds in identifying comedy in tragedy and thus reconciling himself and the reader with the world." – Deutschlandfunk Kultur
Rights to Joachim Meyerhoff's novels have been sold to Brazil, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands and Spain.