"Most will be taken with ... Duckwitz's mordant musings on
phones, fidelity, politics, and deficiencies of existence."
—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
The first novel by one of Germany's leading satirists follows the thoughts and adventures of Harry von Duckwitz. Duckwitz is an aristocratic, left-leaning lawyer who suddenly leaves his law firm, enters the foreign service, and gets posted to Cameroon and Ecuador. He pursues ideas and women with the same conflicted, contrary, self-critical volatility he brings to his diplomatic career. Whether insulting or attempting to understand people, from left-wing intellectuals to right-wing colonels, he keeps stumbling across truth after half-truth.
German humor seems to be an oxymoron, but you will find yourself drawn to Westphalen's cosmopolitan irony, to the universality of his concerns and, most of all, to the all-around agnostic, questioning yet smug, semi-alter ego he has created in Duckwitz. This is a Catbird book through and through: it makes you laugh and it makes you think; it makes you angry and it makes you nod your head in agreement and realization.
$14.95 paper, 300 pages, ISBN 0-945774-28-1. Also available as an e-book.