Money doesn't smell, it's true, but it may do something far worse. Welcome to Europe in the year zero. Euromoney has replaced the faithful Deutschmark, but now an insidious plague creeps into this brave new world. The 50-Euro note, of all things, has become the carrier of an unknown, merciless illness. Hand washing, credit cards, nothing helps. The MOI virus strikes again and again.
The situation is hopeless but not serious. It is the irresistible scenario of a novel that brilliantly parodies all the fears of our media-driven society on the threshold of a new milennium. Heiko Michael Hartmann's pitch-black humour spares not even the holiest cows of political correctness.
In the beginning, we are addressed by a nameless narrator who confronts his demise in the emergency ward of a hospital. Valkyrie nurses burst brutally into consoling dreams, and babbling TV heroes interrupt "one of the funniest sex scenes I've ever read" (TAZ). Like a misanthropist of the old school, the narrator is soon suffering more from the attentions of Herr Dupek, the man in the next bed, and his terrible, TV-addicted family, than from his own illness.
Heiko Michael Hartmann has written a novel that moves at breakneck speed, full of glaring contradictions, absurd transitions and, above all, a wonderfully comical language. The more he abandons himself to the fantastic and the grotesque, the more clearly the features of our media-crazy and apocalypse-obsessed society become apparent.
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