I discovered a recommendation for this book in the French magazine Lire’s October edition which has the book’s humour as caustic , a stinging turn of phrase, and less than 200 pages of small mindedness as well as …. repeated misfortunes for dromedaries. Well I had to try this one!
We discover the main protagonist, Preising who tells his story in an interview. After he inherits his company in dire straits, ‘Preising’s father, who put off dying just long enough for his son to complete the Business Studies degree he’d interrupted by spending eighteen months at a private Parisian singing school, bequeathed Preising his TV-aerial factory with 35 employees at a time when cable television had already gained a firm foothold.’ more by luck than by skill he hires a young engineer that turns his company into a success and keeps Preising as a figurehead with no real power.
Half a decade after the banking crisis and a couple of years after the Arab Spring Preising finds himself on a business trip to his suppliers in Tunisia where he is installed in one of their themed hotels in the desert ‘THE THOUSAND AND ONE NIGHTS RESORT in the oasis at Tschub was modelled on a nomadic Berber settlement –or, to be more precise, on what market researchers thought a first-class tourist to Tunisia might imagine when he pictured a typical Berber settlement.’ The Hotel is filled with a large wedding party of derivative traders from the City. Here we have the ingredients for a fine tale.
To avoid spoilers my description stops here, but the story reminds me a little of Tom Sharp although I did not laugh out loud as I did with ‘Wilt’, but maybe I’m just 40 years older now.
First published in German as ‘Frühling der Barbaren’ by Verlag CH Beck in 2013.
Translated into English by Peter Lewis and published by Haus Publishing as ‘Barbarian Spring’ in 2014