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The Standardization of Demoralization Procedures

The Standardization of Demoralization Procedures

For readers of A Constellation of Vital Phenomena and The Dinner, a darkly comic and hauntingly surreal debut novel about what happens when ideologies crumble and the betrayer himself is betrayed

On November 9, 1989, Bernd Zeiger, a Stasi officer in the twilight of his career, is deteriorating from a mysterious illness. Alarmed by the abrupt disappearance a month earlier of Lara, a young waitress at his regular café with whom he has become obsessed, he chases a series of clues throughout Berlin. The details of Lara’s vanishing trigger flashbacks to a past transgression. Twenty-five years earlier, Zeiger betrayed the secret of a friend, Johannes Held, a physicist who had infiltrated an American research institute dedicated to weaponizing the paranormal.

Now, on the day the Berlin Wall falls, the betrayal of his onetime friend has come back to haunt Zeiger. Was Lara the naïf she presented herself to be, or did she know more about him than she admitted? As the surveiller becomes the surveilled, all will be revealed, with shocking consequences.

Set in the final, turbulent days of the Cold War, The Standardization of Demoralization Procedures blends the high-wire espionage of John le Carré with the brilliant absurdist humor of Milan Kundera to evoke the dehumanizing forces that came to characterize communist East Germany. Jennifer Hofmann’s debut is an affecting, layered investigation of conscience and country.
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Genre: Fiction / Fiction / Historical

On Sale: August 11th 2020

Price: $13.99 / $17.99 (CAD)

Page Count: 272

ISBN-13: 9780316426442

What's Inside

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"Gorgeous, dark, and haunted... a masterpiece of restraint, insight, and style... There is an extraordinary clarity of perception in these pages and one is astonished time and again at Jennifer Hofmann's prodigious gifts... 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, which is what this incandescent novel surely will come to be regarded as."—Matthew Thomas, New York Times bestselling 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 National Jewish Book Award winner The Betrayers
"A masterful waltz... an endlessly captivating puzzle... Despite the seemingly doomed world in which the novel takes place, Hofmann manages to dazzle us with brilliant humor, unrivaled insight, and fragments of hope. She recalls the prose brilliance of Jenny Erpenbeck, the philosophical curiosity of Milan Kundera, and the passion for the charming and the odd of Haruki Murakami... The Standardization of Demoralization Procedures is 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... an instant classic."—Jaroslav Kalfar, author of Spaceman of Bohemia, finalist for the Center for Fiction First Novel Prize, the Arthur C. Clarke Award, and the Dayton Literary Peace Prize
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