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The Standardization of Demoralization Procedures

The Standardization of Demoralization Procedures

Darkly comic and hauntingly surreal, The Standardization of Demoralization Procedures examines obsession, paranoia and the dwindling career of a Stasi operative.

9th November 1989, East Berlin, the day the Berlin Wall will fall – Bernd Zeiger, a Stasi agent whose manual on the demoralisation of political opponents, once made him renowned, is now in the fading twilight of his career.

Twenty five years earlier, a physicist Johnnes Held, had been sent by the East Germans to infiltrate a US military operation in the American desert, where teleportation and other paranormal activities were being investigated. Held had unknowingly fathered a child there, a fact Zeiger was aware of and when he returned and refused to divulge what he had learned, despite being tortured, Zeiger strangely became a sort of friend. But he would still betray him, a treachery that haunts him to this day.

Like many other officials and government functionaries, Zeiger has been feeling strange, beginning to lose his grip on reality, a development he has tied to the disappearance of a café waitress for whom he has developed an attraction. This woman, Lara, who has been missing for a month, has a surprising connection to Johannes Held. In his attempts to find her Zeiger will discover that he himself has been betrayed, as chaos breaks out, the Wall comes down and his carefully curated life unravels.

The Standardization of Demoralization Procedures brilliantly captures a moment when ideological winds shift and dogma and inhumanity reign.

(P) 2020 Quercus Editions Limited
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Genre: Fiction & Related Items / Historical Fiction

On Sale: 11th August 2020

Price: £22.99

ISBN-13: 9781529403589

Reviews

The Standardization of Demoralization Procedures is a must-read for anyone looking for serious fiction that engages with the biggest issues of our times as well as a hilarious, humanist, gorgeously written treatise on the currents that stir the human soul under the direst circumstances. I read this book in almost a single breath, and it is easily the best novel I've encountered this year, brilliant and funny and profound, producing some of the most complex, fascinating characters I've ever known. As far as I'm concerned, the novel is an instant classic.
Jaroslav Kalfar, author of Spaceman of Bohemia
Reading this gorgeous, dark, and haunted book, one is astonished time and again at Jennifer Hofmann's prodigious gifts ... This is art of the highest order, a masterpiece of restraint, insight, and style. It is a singular feat for a book about subject matter this chilling to make the reader feel so deeply; and yet that is part of the work of timeless literature.
Matthew Thomas, author of, We Are Not Ourselves
A beautiful and haunting novel that will linger in the minds of its readers... The Standardization of Demoralization Procedures challenges the reader to separate the fantastical from the merely bizarre. Is it the state or its citizens who are losing their minds? And how much repression can the human heart and soul withstand?
David Bezmozgis, author of, The Betrayers
Intelligent and thought-provoking but also deeply funny
NB Magazine
[C]lever and constantly surprising...This is a novel in which nothing much appears to happen, yet the gradual accumulation of facts gives it a powerful fascination
The Times