BookBrowse Reviews The Standardization of Demoralization Procedures by Jennifer Hofmann

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The Standardization of Demoralization Procedures

by Jennifer Hofmann

The Standardization of Demoralization Procedures by Jennifer Hofmann X
The Standardization of Demoralization Procedures by Jennifer Hofmann
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  • Published:
    Aug 2020, 272 pages


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Book Reviewed by:
Lisa Butts
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About this Book



A satirical but surprisingly sympathetic portrait of an aging Stasi agent on the eve of German reunification.

The title of Jennifer Hofmann's perceptive debut novel with its bureaucratese strongly suggests a satire in the vein of Kafka or Dostoevsky, and there are certainly elements of humor and incisive critique within its pages. The protagonist is a surveillance agent for East Germany's secret police, the Stasi, and the opening scenes involve torture and references to a missing woman — lining up the tropes for a propulsive spy thriller. But The Standardization of Demoralization Procedures defies easy categorization and the reader's expectations to provide a nuanced portrayal of aging and the hollow feelings of loneliness and futility that may come along with it.

It is 1989 and Bernd Zeiger, at 60 years old, has been largely relegated to the sidelines by the Stasi's top brass. In his glory days, Zeiger wrote a handbook outlining the most effective practices for cultivating ...

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