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Translated by Imogen Taylor
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.
‘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.’
‘Dirk Kurbjuweit exposes the evil lurking just below the surface of civilised life.’
‘A subtle and engrossing psychological thriller that gives an intelligent, carefully considered response to thequestion of how much our liberal values are worth when we feel our lives are threatened.’
‘High-voltage and multi-layered.’
‘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.’
‘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.’
‘Flawlessly translated from German by Imogen Taylor…a gripping and thought-provoking read.’
‘This is a murder story, a psychological thriller, and something more.’
‘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.’