Rainald Goetz

Johann Holtrop - Novel

Rainald Goetz
Foto: Rainald Goetz

Rainald Goetz, born May 24th, 1954 in Munich, studied History and Medicine in Munich and obtained a doctoral degree in both subjects. He briefly worked as a physician, but quit this profession for the sake of literature in his early thirties. His first novel, Mad, a story set in a psychiatric hospital, was published in 1983. Goetz subsequently also succeeded as a playwright. In 1998, Goetz was writing the internet diary »Rubbish for Everyone«, probably the first literary blog in Germany, with entries on the world of media and consumerism. It was published in book form in 1999 and together with Rave, Jeff Koons, Celebration and Deconspiracy belongs to Today Tomorrow, Goetz’s great history of the present. From 2007 until 2008, he wrote the blog »Lament« on the website of »Vanity Fair«; the blog was released in book form as early as 2008 and introduced the project »Ravine«, an analysis of the 2000s. This project includes works such as babbling, a volume of photographs entitled september eleventh 2010 and finally his latest novel Johann Holtrop, that describes the rise and fall of a manager. Rainald Goetz was awarded numerous prizes, most notably the Büchner-Prize in 2015. He lives in Berlin. (source: www.deutscheakademie.de)

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Italy (Fazi), Netherlands (Leesmagazijn), Republic of Moldova / Romanian rights (Cartier)

Longlisted for the German Book Prize 2012


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?

Other publications

Jeff Koons/Jeff Koons (2002)

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France (L'Arche); previously published in the respective language / territory; rights available again: English world rights (Oberon Books), Korea (Sung Kyun Kwan UP), Japan (Ronsosha), Poland (Ksiegarnia Akademicka), Czech Republic (Zivilverein Transteatral)

Rave/Rave (1998)

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English world rights (Fitzcarraldo), Denmark (Det poetiske Bureau)

Irre/Mad (1983)

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English world rights (Fitzcarraldo), Spanish world rights (Sexto Piso), France (Gallimard), Netherlands (Het balanseer)