The Prime Minister


Joachim Zelter
Der Ministerpräsident / The Prime Minister
200 pages
Tübingen: Klöpfer & Meyer, 2010


That he had just survived a terrible car-crash. That in that crash a lot of things had happened to him, especially in his head and in his mind. That he had been in a coma for more than ten days and that he had only just regained consciousness. That he is not an ordinary person, but Claus Urspring, indeed the Prime Minister, and that he is to remain Prime Minister by all means and at all costs. That he is a political concept, a well-known image, the personification and quintessence of an admired politician.


It is these and many more things which are being disclosed to Claus Urspring, the hospitalised hero of this comic novel, who is driven and pushed by political advisors and ambitious election managers. He is a driven and prompted figure, staggering on the political stage, hardly knowing who he is and who he once was. To make things even worse, all this is revealed to him on the verge of a decisive general election …

Moving between benevolent ignorance and childlike amazement, Zelter’s novel portrays the hero’s quest for memory, for selfhood and identity in a bizarre political world in which politics turns out to be nothing more than pretentious enactment and shallow appearance.



Nominated for the German Booker Prize, 2010.





“A comic, a highly profound satire.“


“A  political satire, and an excellent one.”
Süddeutsche Zeitung.


“Exceedingly comic. Excellently narrated.”
Schwäbisches Tagblatt


„Highly topical. A novel bound to find many readers.
Reutlinger General-Anzeiger


„A political fabel. Unmasking the political world.”
Saarbrücker Zeitung


“Unveils the political system as a cynical enactment.”


“A novel deserving many readers.”
Frankfurter Rundschau



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