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Rainald Goetz

Johann Holtrop - Novel

Rainald Goetz
Foto: Rainald Goetz
Rainald Goetz, born 1954 in Munich, lives in Berlin.

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Netherlands (Leesmagazijn)

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The fall of a CEO. Johann Holtrop tells the story of a German CEO in the first decade of the twenty-first century.

For the charismatic, clever, successful chief executive Dr. Johann Holtrop, 48, who for the past four years has been head of Assperg AG with 80,000 employees and a worldwide annual revenue of 20 billion, the transition from the booms of the late 90s into the new turbulent and financially difficult times has been a relatively easy one. The story is divided into three parts, beginning in November 2001, and describes how, over the course of the aughts, through egomania and growing disdain of the world in the face of adversity, through contempt for work, for the present, and for the law, Holtrop gradually and without ever truly realising it, slides inexorably into complete social and economic ruin as abject and definitive as his earlier ascent had been glorious and meteoric.

When the winters were still long and snow-bound and the summers hot and dry – there stood the black-glassed office monolith senselessly huge in the night, on the outskirts of Krölpa, Krölpa upon Unstrut, behind it the woods marking Krölpa’s boundary to the north, up toward the Warta, there, glowing solitary, evil and red the smouldering company logo of Arrow PC up on the roof above the dark behemoth made of black steel and black glass, the red letters above it, a modern building, as broken as Germany in those years, as hysterically cold and idiotically conceived as the executives who had their desks there imagined the world to be because that’s how they themselves were, controlled by greed, by greed –

Johann Holtrop, this is your life! What do you have to say for yourself?