A well done novel about what an individual’s perception does to his mind, how does unreasoning fear influence decisions about action to be taken in a stressful event.
Randolf Tiefenthaler is a successful architect living and working in Berlin. He has a beautiful wife, Rebecca, and two delightful children. Due to his success he moves his family into a lovely upscale apartment. Every thing looks wonderful. He likes his neighbors and gets along as well as could be expected with them. One of them is an older man named Dieter Tiberius who at first blush seems friendly although somewhat aloof. Unfortunately Dieter changes and his behavior becomes malevolent.
Randolph becomes more and more disturbed by Dieter’s behavior. Dieter develops a fascination for Rebecca and begins sending erotic letters to her. He also accuses Randolph’s family of child molestation and files police reports against them while openly spying on them. Randolph files counter police reports against his antagonist but gets nowhere. He begins to feel himself unable to take care of his family and inadequate as a protective husband and father. Somewhat estranged from his own father he finally asks him for advice on what to do. Randolph’s childhood with the man that sired him was one of apparent distance and fear of the many guns his father had in the house.
As a possible result of the consultation held with his father, Dieter is shot dead in his own apartment. Randolph’s father is arrested for the crime and sent to prison. Randolph goes through a period of self analysis which has him calling into question his own masculinity, the rule of law and violence in general. The meditation leads to him questioning his own adequacy, the concept of middle class privilege and the whole spectrum of a “civilized” life.
This is Kurbjuweit’s seventh book, and the first one translated into English. The concepts developed in this novel are certainly cause for thought and will surely develop a taste for more on the part of the reader.
1/18 Paul Lane
FEAR by Dirk Kurbjuweit. Harper (October 3, 2017). ISBN 978-0062678348. 272p.