About People

This title was previously available on NetGalley and is now archived.
Buy on Amazon Buy on BN.com Buy on Bookshop.org
*This page contains affiliate links, so we may earn a small commission when you make a purchase through links on our site at no additional cost to you.
Send NetGalley books directly to your Kindle or Kindle app

1
To read on a Kindle or Kindle app, please add kindle@netgalley.com as an approved email address to receive files in your Amazon account. Click here for step-by-step instructions.
2
Also find your Kindle email address within your Amazon account, and enter it here.
Pub Date Oct 03 2023 | Archive Date Oct 03 2023

Talking about this book? Use #AboutPeople #NetGalley. More hashtag tips!


Description

A World Literature Today Notable Translations of 2023

Written by Germany's #1 bestselling author Juli Zeh, About People takes place in the middle of lockdown in spring 2020 and subtly describes the social and very private consequences of the pandemic.

Fleeing stay-at-home orders in the big city, Dora and her dog move to the countryside to sit out the pandemic. She knows that Bracken, a village in the middle of nowhere, isn’t the idyll most city dwellers dream of, but she’s desperate for space and a change of scene. The quaint old house she’s saved up for needs work, weeds have taken over the yard, and her skinhead neighbor fits all the stereotypes. Just what is Dora really looking for? Distance from her boyfriend Robert, whose climate activism has crossed into obsession? Refuge from her inner turmoil? Clarity on how the whole world got so messed up? As Dora tries to keep her demons in check, unexpected things start happening all around her. Juli Zeh’s epic new novel explores our present predicaments, biases, weaknesses, and fears, but—above all—it reveals the strengths that come to light when we dare to be human.

A World Literature Today Notable Translations of 2023

Written by Germany's #1 bestselling author Juli Zeh, About People takes place in the middle of lockdown in spring 2020 and subtly describes the...


Advance Praise

Praise for Juli Zeh

“Zeh challenges readers to consider how complicit we are in our current political dilemmas.” —Los Angeles Times

Praise for About People

“A revealing novel about the state of our nation.” —SWR

“Juli Zeh’s new work shoots straight to the heart of Germany’s excessive demands: with a lot of wit and compassion and also with a large portion of hope for a more conciliatory society.” —ZDF

“The first real corona novel, which takes place in the middle of lockdown in spring 2020 and subtly describes the social and very private consequences of the pandemic.” —Süddeutsche Zeitung 

Praise for New Year

PEN AWARD 2022 FINALIST

 “In this wrenching psychological portrait from Zeh, a character’s buried traumatic past distorts his memory and loosens his grip on reality...Zeh’s novel skillfully asks how a person can come to terms with a painful past that has been intentionally misremembered for the purpose of sustaining one’s mental health. Readers, though, will have no trouble remembering this.” —Publishers Weekly, *starred review*

“This spine-tingler captures the peak of what appears to be a spectacularly hallucinatory middle-aged crisis.” —Kirkus Reviews, *starred review*

Praise for Juli Zeh

“Zeh challenges readers to consider how complicit we are in our current political dilemmas.” —Los Angeles Times

Praise for About People

“A revealing novel about the state of...


Marketing Plan

  • Lead title of Fall 2023 by Germany’s #1 bestselling author Juli Zeh
  • Print run 20,000
  • Internationally hailed as the “first and ultimate” corona novel
  • Advance galleys at Winter Institute
  • Digital reader copies on Netgalley and Edelweiss
  • Digital assets including trailer & author video
  • National TV, radio, print, and online review campaign
  • Consumer-facing national advertising campaign on Shelf Awareness, Lithub, NPR, Foreword Reviews, Goodreads
  • Book club discussion guide
  • Bookstore co-op available
  • Excerpt placement
  • Social-media campaign & Goodreads Giveaway
  • Lead title of Fall 2023 by Germany’s #1 bestselling author Juli Zeh
  • Print run 20,000
  • Internationally hailed as the “first and ultimate” corona novel
  • Advance galleys at Winter Institute
  • Digital...

Available Editions

EDITION Other Format
ISBN 9781642861334
PRICE $19.99 (USD)
PAGES 320

Available on NetGalley

Send to Kindle (EPUB)
Download (EPUB)

Average rating from 35 members


Featured Reviews

I feel like this is a book which so many people will relate to following the experience of a global pandemic and how it impacted people’s lives. Yes, it is dark, but it is also incredibly clever and insightful,

Was this review helpful?

A book that takes place during the pandemic is interesting if you want to remember it. This writer is so talented it works and is enjoyable.

Was this review helpful?

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for the ARC.
Really really good book. The breakdown makes it sound more like it is about Covid but it is so much more than that.

Was this review helpful?

An exciting thriller read with twists that keep you guessing till the end! Thank you NetGalley and Bookouture for this ARC!

Was this review helpful?

This is an urgent yet calm and warm novel, that gets better and better the more you progress. Juli Zeh is a fabulously smart writer and it is high time we see her on the shortlist for the International Booker.

Our protagonist, 35 year old Dora is a doubter, she wants to do everything well, but what does that mean? She escapes Berlin and her increasingly Covid-obsessed boyfriend to move to the idyllic Brandenburg countryside… Or so she thought. Her neighbours are not the idealistic people she imagined, but overwhelmingly vote right-wing Alternative für Deutschland and feel let down by their government.

The book is billed as a Covid-novel, but more than that it is a novel about our times, about Germany today and it explores the big political divide of our time: not so much between left and right, but between city and countryside, between winners of globalisation and those left behind, between climate-activists and people struggling to make ends meet. As one of the characters puts it:

"It’s hard to believe such a filthy-rich country allows itself to have entire regions where there’s nothing. No doctors, no pharmacies, no sports clubs, no buses, no pubs, no nursery schools, no schools at all (...). Regions where retirees can’t live on their pensions and young women have to work day and night to provide for their children. Then, in those same areas, you plop down a bunch of massive wind turbines, ban commuters from using diesel, auction off farmers’ fields to the highest bidder, try to take wood-burning stoves away from the people who can least afford natural gas, and then you think out loud about banning barbecues and campfires as well, the last bastions of leisurely, sociable enjoyment. And everyone’s just expected to keep going without complaint. Keep suiting up, functioning efficiently. Anyone who rebels is dismissed out of hand, called a stupid peasant, a whatever-denier, even an enemy of democracy."

It´s too bad the wordplay of the German title is untranslatable (Über Menschen meaning both ´About People´ and the term Nazis used to describe their ideal Arian superhumans), because it covers the content so well.

"Do you all still remember? It wasn’t so long ago. A mere seventy, eighty years back. You were supermen, quintessential Übermenschen. You were the master race. Blond stallions on your way to world domination. (…) And today? Today you’re at the camping table, lounging. Trailer behind you, warm beer before you. You smoke Polish cigarettes, make the Hitler salute before the flag of the Reich, and manufacture your own IDs. Übermenschen in Unterhemden—Supermen in undershirts …(…) You are the scum you always wanted to exterminate. Nobody likes you, nobody needs you."

Was this review helpful?

Just loved this perfect book it reminded me so strongly of the better things about Covid lockdown ,the endless summer days in the uk seemed replicated perfectly on this rural part of former east Germany .The Politics seemed so similar to what was happening in the uk at the time but in this novel the addition of the rise of the far right nationalist mentality was covered in a sensitive way .the author was on no way squeamish as she subtly points out the issues as they appear to the narrator a young German woman
Oh, the friendly neighbourhood nazi he was such a memorable character that I am sure will stay with me for a long time
The novel touches on lots of issues such as how do you represent yourself on social media,loneliness and our relationship with our parents
All the Characters were instantly recognisable and totally real I loved the way the author introduced each one and the way they all interacted with each other
Whilst the novel is set and firmly rooted in Germany the issues covered are universal and it translated well for an English audience
I would recommend for lovers of a good relationship novel if you loved A man Called Ove for example this would be the book for you
I read an early copy on NetGalley uk the book is published on the uk by world Editions on 3 October 2023
This review will be published on Goodreads NetGalley uk and on my book blog Bionicsarahsbooks.Wordpress.Com

Was this review helpful?

Writing: 5/5 Characters: 5/5 Plot: 4.5/5

Dora — a 36-year old advertising creative — thinks a lot. It doesn’t necessarily make her happy, but the stubborn core inside her makes her bristle at any hint of absolute truth, absolute authority, or socially enforced groupthink. Her long-term boyfriend, Robert, has become obsessed with climate change, steadily ramping up his insistence on (her) behavior modification to meet his right-thinking absolutes. When Covid hits, he retargets his laser focus on lockdown adherence and becomes unbearable in close quarters. Dora escapes to a dilapidated house in a small village for a breath of fresh air and finds herself in an AfD (right-wing German populist party) hotbed with the self-proclaimed Village Nazi as a neighbor. Thus begins an unasked for opportunity for a deeply introspective and stubbornly think-for-yourselfer to contemplate existence, humanity, and the nature of moral certitude while the world goes nuts around her.

Had I known anything about the author when I picked this book up, I wouldn’t have been as surprised as I was by how good it was — Zeh is an award winning German author and former judge. I realize that I haven’t kept up with European authors at all in the last decades. The writing / translation is excellent. Through a widely variable set of characters — her rigid climate activist boyfriend, the neo-Nazi next door, her highly confident (veering on the arrogant) neurosurgeon father, advertising colleagues, and a slew of village denizens — Zeh is able to cover a wide range of viewpoints on both specific hot topics (e.g. climate change, covid) as well as general socio-political attitudes towards life.

I loved this mildly satirical look at the way we humans cope with life — “mildly” satirical because it didn’t feel unkind to me. We all have our weaknesses, biases, rationalizations, and expectations and figuring out how to accept that ourselves and others seem like one of the more important problems to tackle. I appreciated Dora’s stubborn insistence on doing her own thinking and doing a lot of it. I loved the way explanation and depth was present in every argument, regardless of the character spouting it. It helped me to (surprisingly) be able to empathize with all of the characters, not just the ones I liked.

There were a lot of great quotes — here are a few:

“She follows the rules and regulations. But her thoughts remain free. Nobody can force her to view the beer drinkers outside the Spatis as treasonous public enemies.”

“What happened to the old certainty that there are no absolute certainties, which is why everything needs to be doubted, debated, and thought about? Dora couldn’t understand how Robert could feel so completely certain his lifestyle was so superior. She just didn’t follow.“

“The era of endless self-pity and constant complaining, JoJo will say. When everyone is always offended, afraid, and feels like they’re in the right. What a combination.”

“Take away the possibility of escape, and every refuge turns into a prison.“

“That sense of superiority is a long-acting poison that devours all humanity from the inside. “

“Then life prescribed her a neighbor. A nazi behind a wall. He was ugly and he stank. If he had been a product, he would’ve gotten only one star in the customer reviews on Amazon.”

“She’s often wondered what, exactly, lies behind this racism-triggered stiffness. Maybe a quandary. A series of impossible either-or decisions: Be a moralizer, or be a coward. Follow your convictions, or society’s expectations — or go for a third option and follow your aversion to conflict.”

“Everyone’s busy being interesting and important. And successful, of course, in both their professional and their personal lives. It’s a rat race of conformists outcompeting one another to come across as something special, someone different.”

“Of course there’s no law stating that neo-Nazis can’t appreciate hydrangeas. But it’s a jarring notion nevertheless. It poses a threat to the life-affirming yet mistaken idea that good and evil can easily be distinguished from one another.”

Was this review helpful?

Thank the author and the publisher for this really exceptional book. It is definitely one of the best my recent reads or even one of the best books I have ever read. It reflects what our world is now, how everyone constantly is pushed to judge others for their position, believes, nationality or compliance with authorities. The book tries to show that everything in the world can't be just black and white and the only way to live life full is to accept everything as it is and try to make this world better.
(I don't understand only why all measurements units are American, when the book is German. It's not acceptable for me to change something in the book when translating it to other languages)

Was this review helpful?

I fell in love with the heroine of this book: Dora, a young woman in her thirties working in advertising. She has a great love for space exploration and always has a tag-line in her head. She lives with Robert in Berlin but things have changed in their relationship. We are only privy to Dora’s point of view but from her perspective her gentle Robert had turned into a climate defending fundamentalist. When the Pandemic hit and lock-down kicked in, his political activism paired with his slavish obedience and enforcement of lock-down rules made living with him harder and harder, so she decides to leave.

She moves to a village called Bracken, a name somehow suggesting the back-waters of society. This move shakes her to the core. In this completely new environment she, who distrusts all absolute truths, the rhetoric that comes with them and the authorities that rely on them, realises quickly that she herself harbours steadfast ideas that now become challenged. Her interactions with the people she gets to know make her realise that nothing is quite what it seems.

Much to her horror, most of her new neighbours support the right-wing populist party AfD and during her dealings with them she learns quickly that nothing is simple with right-wing populists. It is the arrogance of the righteous that puts all of them in the same category without understanding what drives them. In her previous live it was easy to pick a side. In Bracken she realises, life is not like that – it is complicated, multi-layered, and always About People and what makes them tick. These are the people she learns to appreciate and love.

This is a heart-warming story, in places quite sentimental with a deep belief that people can change when ideology is put on the back burner and humanity is allowed to come to the fore. It is also a very controversial book given that the local village nazi gets so much air space and is dealt with quite sympathetically. I loved it.

I am grateful to NetGalley and World Editions for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Was this review helpful?

This book took me awhile to get into but when I did I loved it. It sis set during Covid and Dora leaves Berlin to go to a smaller town outside the city. Dora grows a lot throughout the story through the relationships she builds with her new neighbours. It describes life during the lockdowns and way the different personalities dealt with it. The author describes things in detail which added to my experience.

Thank you to NetGalley, the author and the publisher for an advanced copy.

Was this review helpful?

Im still a bit unsure about this book, The writing and translation were good, and I'd thought I was ready for a Covid book particularly set a different country to the UK. Now I'm not sure I was, as people the world over obviously had similarly diverse ways of coping with lockdowns etc.
At its core though this was a book about human relationships, both with each other, nature and the environment and this was the aspect I became most interested in.
Thank you to netgalley and world editions for an advance copy of this book.

Was this review helpful?

I finished this book a few days ago and still can’t make up my mind about it. I found it interesting to learn about Every day life in Germany during the pandemic and noted the similarities between there and the UK and I also really appreciated the translation which appeared seemless to me. However I’m not sure there was much of a story. I kept thinking where is this going’ and if anything was going to happen or whether it was just a comment on the rural society during an extraordinary period. I know this book and it’s author have received many accolades but I think it wasn’t my cup of tea.

Was this review helpful?

Written by Germany's #1 bestselling author Juli Zeh, About People takes place in the middle of lockdown in spring 2020 and subtly describes the social and very private consequences of the pandemic.
Fleeing stay-at-home orders in the big city, Dora and her dog move to the countryside to sit out the pandemic. She knows that Bracken, a village in the middle of nowhere, isn't the idyll most city dwellers dream of, but she's desperate for space and a change of scene. The quaint old house she's saved up for needs work, weeds have taken over the yard, and her skinhead neighbor fits all the stereotypes.
Just what is Dora really looking for? Distance from her boyfriend Robert, whose climate activism has crossed into obsession? Refuge from her inner turmoil? Clarity on how the whole world got so messed up? As Dora tries to keep her demons in check, unexpected things start happening all around her. Juli Zeh's epic new novel explores our present predicaments, biases, weaknesses, and fears, but-above all-it reveals the strengths that come to light when we dare to be human.

Was this review helpful?

This is an urgent yet calm and warm novel, that gets better and better the more you progress.The book is billed as a Covid-novel, but more than that it is a novel about our times, about Germany today and it explores the big political divide of our time: not so much between left and right, but between city and countryside, between winners of globalisation and those left behind, between climate-activists and people struggling to make ends meet.Really really good book.

Was this review helpful?

A look at the state of our nation. How to survive during the pandemic and it is a interesting story that I think everyone should read.

Was this review helpful?

I would classify this book as a work of realistic fiction. The author's skill in crafting imaginative characters and situations that mirror the intricacies of the world and society is truly commendable. The characters delve into themes of personal growth, self-exploration, and grappling with both individual and societal challenges.

The language employed in the narrative is precise and vivid, painting a clear picture of the backdrop and the characters themselves. Natural and genuine dialogues further enhance the authenticity of the storytelling. The pacing is skillfully balanced, maintaining a tension that keeps the reader engrossed and then delivering moments of release.

This is a first for me by the author and one I enjoyed and I would read more of their work. The book cover is eye-catching and appealing and would spark my interest if in a bookshop. Thank you very much to the author, publisher and Netgalley for this ARC.

Was this review helpful?

About People was originally a German bestseller written by Juli Zeh and is now translated to English by Alta L. Price. Netgalley and the publisher, World Editions, graciously provided me with an advance copy of the book that is scheduled for an October 2023 release in anticipation of my honest feedback. Its title is Über Menschen in German and is set during the period of the first Corona lockdown, when everybody—the governments, the public, politicians, and health workers—panicked. It was the time when human nature, with its ugliest and prettiest sides, was put to the test against all the ideologies, biases, and fears of others. The novel tells such a story.

Was this review helpful?

“ Life is largely trial and error, and people are capable of comprehending and controlling far less than they often believe.”

Some wonderful writing but I just couldn’t connect with it. Perhaps if I knew more about German politics etc. I’d have had a better appreciation for the novel

Was this review helpful?

A good read- not what I was expecting and was a little unsure as we are all fed up with covid, but it was a pleasant surprise.
Thoroughly enjoyed the journey and just made me think and appreciate everything around us.
Would definitely recommend

Was this review helpful?

Thirty-something Dora lives in a cramped Berlin apartment with her boyfriend Robert when the pandemic arrives. His obsession with a climate apocalypse does not pair well with her laid-back, creative style, and she copes by being passive-aggressive, such as tossing recyclables into the trash. After one rant too many, she decamps with her dog to a fixer-upper she secretly purchased in rural Bracken, an AfD party right-wing stronghold. The first neighbor she meets is Goth, who identifies himself as the village Nazi.

As Dora adjusts to her new rural lifestyle, tackling her sorely neglected new homesite and remote work, she slowly becomes acquainted with her neighbors. She couldn’t be more different than them: an urban progressive from an affluent upbringing while they struggle to make ends meet during the pandemic with little by way of a safety net. She will be forced to see life through their eyes, even test her assumptions about her moral high ground. When she learns why and how Goth came to be who he is, she says that she’s better than him, a hundred times better. Then she realizes that the sense of superiority is the “mother of all problems, a long-acting poison that devours all humanity from the inside.”

This book is an easy read but filled with weighty thoughts and reflections on today’s pressing issues. It will at the least make readers think before not thinking.

Was this review helpful?

There have already been some Covid novels and I’m sure there will be more, but I feel that this will prove to be one of the best. Best-selling German author Julie Zeh has written a relatable, insightful and perhaps most importantly non-judgmental novel about the consequences of the pandemic – personal, political and social – on Dora, an advertising copywriter who escapes to the country when Covid hits and her relationship with her partner Robert breaks down, largely due to his increasing obsession with climate change. But her escape to a small rural village turns out to be equally problematic, especially when she discovers that her neighbour Goth is a self-proclaimed Nazi. Although Covid takes centre stage for much of the novel, it’s certainly not just about the pandemic, but more concerned with how we deal with our preconceptions, assumptions and prejudices when we find ourselves outside our comfort zone. Our firmly held opinions sometimes come up against other people’s opinions and ideologies and we have to take a step back and realise that not everything is a matter of black and white. I found this a very human book, a novel about acceptance and understanding, and how it’s not always easy to hold on to our moral certitudes. I’m not going to divulge the plot, or relate how Dora copes in her new environment, as I think the less the reader knows beforehand the better. I really enjoyed the book, finding it a truly compelling and intelligent exploration of the dilemmas world events beyond our control often force us to face. I also found it fascinating to read about Covid responses in another country. A great read.

Was this review helpful?

The book is full with so much from opposing views on many issues, biases, judgements, misconceptions and more. It’s absolutely fascinating. Ultimately though this is about people, kindness, acceptance and friendship. It’s a story and a half. I’m struggling to say much more as it’s one of those that you don’t want to give a lot away on. I felt much emotion reading it from laughter to sadness. The ending broke my heart. Very powerful.

Dora works as an advertising copywriter and ends up of course working from home due to the pandemic. The Author very cleverly incorporates brilliant concepts and ideas that come from Dora’s imagination but they also relate to events going on. I had a lot of genuine smiles reading it. I loved many characters especially a young girl who worms her way into Dora’s world and heart (and her dog is mad for this child too). Her story is very powerful and moving. Even the dog is a huge character!

The reveal! Oh my God, I was stunned and cannot express how clever this writer is. You won’t see it coming and it changes so much, the pieces of the jigsaw fall into place. This is very much a book about why we should never assume, never judge a book by its cover and the power of always having an open mind. The book is filled with so much good stuff. Absolutely hooked me in and I couldn’t put it down.

I really do not understand the reviews that describe this book in a really negative light, to be honest I think the point has been missed. So don’t let those put you off please. This is a book about human nature and what we value most in life. I highly recommend this. My review has not done it justice as I don’t want to throw in any spoilers. 4 solid stars. If you are wanting something different to read this will do the job nicely. Very clever penmanship and I can see why Juli is a bestselling German writer. I am eager to read more from her immediately.
Sadly though this is her only book so far translated into English.

Was this review helpful?

Alright, let's talk "About People" by Juli Zeh, one of Germany's best writers of modern fiction. She takes us on a wild ride through the COVID-19 pandemic, but she's not just rehashing what we all went through. No, she dives deep into the messy, confusing bits of humanity.

Dora escapes the city life of Berlin and moves to the quiet of the Brandenburg countryside. She's running from the pandemic and her overly zealous climate-activist boyfriend. Once there, she gets a solid dose of the human spectrum. Her neighbors include Goth, the village Nazi, and his daughter Franzi, and gay florists who vote for the AfD (Germany's right-wing political party). Zeh's storytelling showcases that, deep down, we're all just trying to figure it out and get through. We're more alike than we are different.

"She thinks how little polarization there really is. No east and west, down and up, left or right. Neither paradise nor apocalypse, contrary to what the media and politics often portray. Instead, it's just people, standing together. People who like each other, some more, some less. Who come together and separate again."

The novel is a little dark, a little satirical (but not unkind), and more than anything it's about acceptance, understanding, and compassion. I empathized with all of the characters, even the ones I didn't like. If you're looking for a book that makes you think about society and our place in it, and makes you rethink your judgements, this is a good pick.

Was this review helpful?

I was not sure I wanted to read a pandemic themed novel, but Jul Zeh's "About People" changed my mind. It's an examination of what happens when everything is in chaos. How do we attempt to put order back in our lives? Can we put our lives back together after the unthinkable has happened? Zeh creates a story that centres around the trauma we face from our past, and how that trauma influences how we deal with a crazy world. This novel is hilarious and deeply engrossing.

Was this review helpful?

Translated from German by Alta L. Price, About People by Julie Zeh (2023) is literary fiction exploring the themes of our times. It’s in the early stages of the pandemic when Dora flees the city, with the stay-at-home orders and her unsatisfactory relationship, for a rural life. Purchasing a house in Bracken, a village in the middle of nowhere, she yearns for open space and freedom. Working from home suits her as she gets to know the locals and the neighbour next door with his strident opinions. As Dora attempts to tame her garden and adapt to this very different place, incidents and people affect her in ways she cannot foresee. A moving tale of friendship, wit and insightful commentary with realistic characters and a four and a half stars read rating. The social and very private consequences of the pandemic are used to illustrate a heartful appeal to our shared humanity. With thanks to World Editions and the author, for an uncorrected advanced review copy for review purposes. As always, the opinions herein are totally my own, freely given and without inducement.

Was this review helpful?

"About People" offers a unique exploration of human connections against the backdrop of a world in turmoil. Juli Zeh's novel delves into the life of a woman discontented with urban living and her partner's fervent environmental activism. Without consulting anyone in her circle, she purchases a house with land in a small village.
Her relocation coincides with the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, and initially, she grapples with solitude. Yet, as time unfolds, she gradually acquaints herself with a diverse cast of neighbors, each possessing their own eccentricities, from a burly nazi with a adorable girl to a gay couple with surprising political leanings.
The novel adeptly captures the peculiarities of life during this extraordinary period, painting a vivid picture that recalls my own experiences. However, the close bond the protagonist forms with her nazi neighbor strains credibility at times.
Juli Zeh skillfully navigates the complexities of human interaction, unveiling hidden layers of her characters' lives. The juxtaposition of political beliefs and personal connections challenges preconceived notions, serving as a poignant reminder of the complexities that define us.
While some aspects may lack credibility, About People remains a compelling narrative that prompts reflection on the intricacies of human relationships in times of turmoil.


"About People" ofrece una exploración única de las conexiones humanas con el telón de fondo de un mundo convulso. La novela de Juli Zeh se adentra en la vida de una mujer descontenta con la vida urbana y el ferviente activismo ecologista de su pareja. Sin consultar a nadie de su entorno, compra una casa con terreno en un pequeño pueblo.
Su traslado coincide con el inicio de la pandemia de coronavirus, y al principio se enfrenta a la soledad. Sin embargo, a medida que pasa el tiempo, va conociendo a un variado elenco de vecinos, cada uno con sus propias excentricidades, desde un fornido nazi con una niña adorable hasta una pareja gay con sorprendentes inclinaciones políticas.
La novela capta hábilmente las peculiaridades de la vida durante este periodo extraordinario, pintando un cuadro vívido que recuerda mis propias experiencias. Sin embargo, el estrecho vínculo que la protagonista establece con su vecino nazi resulta a veces poco creíble.
Juli Zeh navega hábilmente por las complejidades de la interacción humana, desvelando capas ocultas de la vida de sus personajes. La yuxtaposición de creencias políticas y conexiones personales desafía las nociones preconcebidas, sirviendo de conmovedor recordatorio de las complejidades que nos definen.
Aunque algunos aspectos pueden resultar poco creíbles, "About People" sigue siendo una narración convincente que incita a la reflexión sobre los entresijos de las relaciones humanas en tiempos de agitación.

Was this review helpful?

“About People” is about a women who leaves the city life of Berlin during the COVID-19 pandemic to live in a small town in Germany. While there she has to navigate many of the same challenges that we all did during the pandemic: social distancing protocols, meeting others when any form of human interaction is discouraged, and navigating the change from working in an office to working from home. In the end, though, this is a beautifully literary exploration of the assumptions that we make about others and how those assumptions not only disconnect us from our fellow human beings but also make it harder for us to find peace and happiness.

I found this book to be an uplifting novel about eliminating the figurative boundaries between us all—boundaries that were certainly made literal during COVID but that existed long before then. Julie Zeh’s prose as rendered by her translator Alta L. Price was breathtakingly precise and beautiful. I’ve often wondered how those from cultural contexts different from my own navigated the shared global experience of the pandemic. This book helped me better understand the personal, political, and social dynamics of the pandemic in Germany all while introducing me to one of Germany’s most beloved contemporary writers.

Was this review helpful?

Well, this was something very different from what I’ve read lately and I really liked it a lot. It is set in Germany during the COVID pandemic and has a motley bunch of very interesting and unusual characters who filled up the book.

This is my first time reading anything from Germanys number one Author but definitely not the last. Dora and her dog are desperate to escape the city life of Berlin and especially her vocal boyfriend and his rants on the pandemic and everything else under the sun. She escapes to a very small country town called Bracken where she has bought an old house on a big block of land.

Pretty quickly we meet key characters, firstly her next door neighbour who announces himself as the village Nazi. Not what you expect at all. Dora takes this in her stride and over time a fascinating dynamic occurs between the two. I can’t mention much about that as it will ruin the entire book but nothing is as it seems. Other characters quickly enter her world and I actually loved every single one of them. Juli knows how to bring characters to life and has created a book that challenges stereotypes.

The book is full with so much from political views, biases, judgement, misconceptions and more. It’s absolutely fascinating. It’s a story and a half. I’m struggling to say much more as it’s one of those that you don’t want to give a lot away on. I felt much emotion reading it from laughter to sadness.

Dora works as an advertising copywriter and ends up of course working from home die to the pandemic. The Author very cleverly incorporates brilliant concepts and ideas that come from Dora’s imagination but also speaks of events going on. I had a lot of genuine smiles reading it. I loved many characters especially a young girl who worms her way into Dora’s world and heart (and her dog is mad for this child too). Her story is very powerful and moving.

The reveal! Oh my God, I was stunned and cannot express how clever this writer is. You won’t see it coming and it changes so much. This is very much a book about why we should never assume, never judge a book by its cover and the power of always having an open mind. The book is filled with so much good stuff. Absolutely hooked me in and I couldn’t put it down,

I do not understand the reviews that describe this book in a really negative light, to be honest I think the point has been missed. This is a book about human nature and what we value most in life. I highly recommend this. My review has not done it justice as I don’t want to throw in any spoilers. 4 solid stars. If you are wanting something different to read this will do the job nicely. Very clever penmanship and I can see why Juli is a bestselling German writer.

Was this review helpful?

Readers who liked this book also liked: