- Paperback: 304 pages
- Publisher: Orion Publishing Co (6 September 2018)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1409172031
- ISBN-13: 978-1409172031
- Product Dimensions: 17.9 x 2.3 x 20.1 cm
- Boxed-product Weight: 281 g
- Average Customer Review: 2 customer reviews
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Fear: The gripping thriller that has everyone talking Paperback – 6 Sep 2018
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Praise for FEAR, the most original thriller of 2018 for fans of THE WOMAN IN THE WINDOW by A.J. Finn, LULLABY by Leila Slimani and ANATOMY OF A SCANDAL by Sarah Vaughan:
A terrific, original thriller, and a marvellous exploration of the psychology of menace - I loved it
Five stars - as intellectually stimulating as it is gripping (Jake Kerridge DAILY TELEGRAPH)
Wonderfully sinister. . . You'll never see your neighbours in the same light again (THE OBSERVER)
Beautifully written, frightening and absorbing (THE TIMES)
Something we've not seen before in contemporary crime fiction (GUARDIAN)
Kurbjuweit takes you right into the heart of darkness (MAIL ON SUNDAY)
I'm intrigued by Dirk Kurbjuweit's novel FEAR, about a stalker living downstairs (LIONEL SHRIVER, Observer's Best Holiday Reads 2017)
If you liked WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT KEVIN, try FEAR by Dirk Kurbjuweit... Claustrophobic and unsettling (BBC NEWS)
[An] uncomfortably close-to-home thriller... A powerfully disturbing read (SUNDAY TIMES CRIME CLUB)
Its layers of paranoia and memories are brilliantly done to play on every parents' deepest fears - including mine (FIONA BARTON, bestselling author of THE WIDOW)
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“We grew up untouched by weapons as everyone else – but for the fact that the guns were there, which changed everything. It meant there were different possibilities – possible threats, in particular. It changed the way we thought and, looking back, sometimes inclined us towards hysteria. For me, home was a place where you could get shot”
Fear is the sixth full-length novel by German journalist and author, Dirk Kurbjuweit, and the first to be translated into English. It opens with a man visiting his elderly father in prison. Hermann Tiefenthaler is serving eight years for shooting dead Dieter Tiberius, his son Randolph’s downstairs neighbour, with one of his collection of thirty weapons.
Randolph Tiefenthaler is a successful architect who is married to Rebecca, a beautiful, intelligent woman. They have two young children. When they move into their newly-purchased ground-floor apartment in Berlin, they are unaware of the basement tenant, having met only the owner of that apartment. But Rebecca says there’s something strange about him…
Randolph’s narrative (the account he is writing for his wife, of what led up to the shooting) relates the events with the benefit of hindsight. It’s a riveting tale that is easily believable, but with a twist or two at the end that certainly turns some ideas on their heads.
Kurbjuweit touches on several topical issues: gun ownership, child abuse, the power of spurious accusations to ruin a reputation, genetics vs upbringing and social inequality. His story demonstrates the effects, on thoughts, feelings and behaviour, of unremitting psychological terror, especially when the legal system seems impotent to protect law-abiding citizens.
Randolph explains: “The courtroom was almost full; the press had reported the case in detail, and largely with understanding. The greatest goodwill, I am afraid to say was expressed by the papers I didn’t normally read, but which now became my allies. A family under threat taking the law into their own hands fitted their world view, and I began to read the tabloids with new sympathy. Today I would cite this as an additional sign – along with my arrogant language and altered mindset – of the barbarism into which Dieter Tiberuis had plunged us. The crime itself, of course, was also barbaric”
This novel is flawlessly translated from German by Imogen Taylor, and it is no surprise that is has been adapted for film, television and radio in Germany. This is a gripping and thought-provoking read.
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
Randolph Tiefenthaler grew up with a father who had an extensive gun collection. Not only were the guns loaded but Randolph’s father had a bit of a temper. Randolph always had a fear that one night his father would come upstairs and kill him and/or his brother. Randolph is an adult now with a wife and children when his father is arrested for murder. It all started when Randolph moved his family to a new building where Dieter Tiberius is living in the basement apartment. Dieter is an odd character who turns into a menacing one when he starts to stalk Randolph and his family and accuses the parents of sexually abusing their children.
This is an excellent psychological thriller with deep insight into family bonds and the fears implanted in us as children that we continue to live with throughout our adult life. I’ve seen other reviews saying the author lectures about issues but I thought the whole book was fascinating. I hung on every word and loved the buildup of suspense. No one seemed to be able to help this family – not their lawyer, not the police and not children’s services. At times I thought, just move away, but they hadn’t done anything wrong to lose their home, but since it involved children, I would have been out of there. Regardless, I was quite impressed by this author. Apparently, the book is loosely based on the author’s own experience with a stalker so he had firsthand knowledge of what this type of situation can do to a person.
The author is from Germany and he has written 8 novels, many of which, including this book, have been adapted for film, television and radio in Germany. “Fear” is the first to be translated into English. I’ll be keeping an eye out for any others that will be translated in the future for sure.
I don’t usually give thrillers 5 star reviews as I reserve 5 stars for books that really have a profound impact on me. But in a way I think the book did have a profound impact on me as I’m still thinking about it though I’m writing this review weeks after reading the book. This story showing how quickly our immediate world can become one that’s horribly distressful fills my thoughts throughout the days. If you’re looking for a thriller with psychological insight, I highly recommend this one.
This book was given to me by the publisher in return for an honest review.
Fear isn't just about the terror inflicted on a family; it's about the family itself. This family is on the brink of destruction. Randolph and Rebecca want to appear to be a happy couple but once you scratch the surface of their relationship, there are cracks and not just hairline cracks. Will the actions of their odd neighbour (some may call him a nutcase) bring them together to fight the bully or will it drive a wedge into those cracks?
I have to say I have mixed feelings about Fear. For me, it was a bit of a slow burner, it didn't quite get going to a pace I like when it comes to psychological thrillers. The story was there, it was well written but for me, it just didn't tick all the boxes a psychological thriller needs to complete. I know it has had some excellent reviews but it just didn't stand out for me.
A key question hanging over this thriller is, ‘Would you kill to protect your family?’
It kicks off with 78-year old Hermann receiving his son and grandchildren in prison where he serves an 8-year sentence for manslaughter: he rang Dieter’s doorbell, killed him with a single headshot, climbed back to his son’s apartment, told him to call the police...
What follows is a wide-ranging, 200-pp account by Randolph about the hostilities, the failure of the rule of law and its practitioners and all manner of professional, psychological and marital effects of living in constant fear. Male readers will compare Randolphs every thought and action with their own. [Would I dine out solo in starred restaurants, hop off to Bali?] Female readers will easier bond with Rebecca. And there are a few surprises at the end...
Thrillers generally have breezy lay-outs (short chapters, indentations). None of that here, perhaps to emphasize how seriously the author (chief editor of ‘Der Spiegel’, a world class weekly newspaper on par with The Economist ) took the challenge of raising controversial, intractable questions in an uncertain world.
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