She is an absolute inspiration, counts among the most important contemporary German writers, and she is one of the hippest authors. Something that absolutely nothing to her. Now, SIBYLLE BERG received the Swiss Book Award 2019 for her novel GRM. BRAINFUCK (Kiepenheuer & Witsch, 2019) along with the Swiss Grand Prix Literature 2020 for her life’s work!
A novel unlike everything else You have read and an absolute phenomenon! The novel went straight to the SPIEGEL bestseller list upon publication in April and was ranked highest on #4!
The Book Award jury on Sibylle Berg:
»Sibylle Berg has succeeded in writing a novel that is formally avant-garde and that shakes the readers to the core. With sarcastic wrath she accompanies four London youths from broken families through the horror scenarios of a deregulated society and further into the future, into the dictatorship of artificial intelligence. Unleashed capitalism is matched by the author’s unleashed imagination. An uncompromising social critique in highly explosive language, with explosive sentences and angry wit.«
The Grand Prix jury on Sibylle Berg:
»Sibylle Berg’s work is not seismographic. This language is an earthquake in itself. After that, what history has left behind lies waste.«
This is a manifesto for fury, for escape, for individual revolt, it is the story of four kids from highly unstable homes in one of the bleakest regions in England, the deindustrialised north-west. Rochdale is a town devoid of hope, a town in which poverty, violence and abuse are part of daily life, a place where kids have to grow up too quickly. The only thing that binds together the angry, martial-arts-obsessed Don(atella); the traumatised Polish boy Peter; the albino girl Karen; and Hannah, an orphan from Liverpool, is their hatred of their lived reality, their love of grime (or GRM) – the music style that has replaced punk as the music of the angry and dispossessed – and their determination to get revenge on the people responsible for their misery.
“Maybe the individual was never important. It just wasn’t quite as obvious as it is now.”
Their thirst for revenge leads them to London, where they encounter degenerate conservatives, conspiracy theorists, programmers vacillating between megalomania and impotence, cynical secret agents, Chinese power brokers, algorithms that have developed a life of their own, and multitudes of losers who spend their days reliving their own pathetic pasts by means of virtual reality. But what started out as a hit squad turns into a makeshift family as the four kids attempt, with limited success, to create a home for themselves in an abandoned factory on the city’s outskirts.
The German critics on GRM. BRAINFUCK:
This extravagant author is not just in a league of her own in terms of hair, performance and linguistic style, but also in her literary insights and subject. Nowhere in the German-speaking world is there a novel that pours so much rage into what was once called „asking the class question. Ursula März, Die Zeit
Sibylle Berg’s astonishing „GRM – Brainfuck“ is like a bleak keep-fit track for our sensibilities. It’s like training to stop ourselves becoming deadened, to keeping ourselves sensitive and immune to the cynicism of familiarity. Julia Encke, Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung
The book functions as an apocalyptic ride through the contemporary world into the future. […] The novel, very intelligently constructed, works a little like the internet. Click, go, and then move on. Characters are clicked on, their brutal fate deepened in individual scenes and then linked with one another. A horror picture show processed typographically. The plot does not develop linearly from chapter to chapter, but is only connected in the user’s brain, or rather the reader’s. A brainfuck. Done brilliantly. Form and content come together at the peak of our times Christine Richard, Tages- Anzeiger
Sibylle Berg’s bitter satire „GRM“ combines apocalyptic entertainment with magical indignation about the state of the world.Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung
Sibylle Berg’s „GRM- Brainfuck“ is incredibly fast, blatant and sadly precise in thinking ahead about what is. The fact that you laugh anyway only makes the novel seem deeper. Stern
550 pages of tristesse and depression, stench and violence, GRM and crime. Against „GRM Brainfuck“ everything else from Sibylle Berg is the purest children’s birthday party. The book should be delivered with rope, firearm or sleeping pills, preferably with all three extras together. Or with an emergency hotline. Very simply, to be on the safe side! MDR Kultur
She presents her characters as data sets, broken down according to certain characteristics. She is the great profiler of the present. Her knowledge is not based on algorithms, but on intuition, empathy and unleashed language. […] Everything trembles with rhythm and wild, brute musicality. Stuttgarter Zeitung
What the hell is going on? Sibylle Berg is going on C. Richard, Tages-Anzeiger
GRM Brainfuck“ isn’t just a dystopy or a novel about society today. It is a literary emergency operation at the open heart of our present.” an.schläge
As a columnist and writer [Berg] is the most powerful analyst of our times Germany has to offer anyway, with „GRM – Brainfuck“ she now delivers her masterpiece, perhaps the best novel of spring. Augsburger Allgemeine
600 pages of anger. A lot of feminist anger. Until now, only France has known such a thing. Catherine Breillat, Marie Darrieussecq or Virginie Despentes, for example. But Sibylle Berg surpasses them all in furor, sharp analysis, energy. BR 24
Even if you already know – for safety’s sake also from us: Buy Sibylle Berg’s new book. It’s called GRM. Brainfuck and it’s about everything.”, ZEIT Magazin Newsletter
But this novel falls out of every category. It’s terrible. Terribly good. It is shocking. Shockingly believable. It is disturbing. Disturbingly present. In short: This book is a dangerous beast, which one must get to know nevertheless absolutely, so that one knows again, how immoderate and substantially large literature can be, no: must be. Kleine Zeitung
Sibylle Berg has written an eminently political novel. Out of empathy for the innocently miserable children, for their parents and those adults who are at the mercy of the state. […] What the author wants with this book is to make people see. What is to become of the children with all the injustice and grotesque grievances in today’s Europe? She succeeds in writing a novel that really grasps the problems of our time. Saarbrücker Zeitung
If science fiction is the joy of the prognostic, GRM is a contemporary text. Nothing is invented here, it looks inexorably at the current situation and pictures what is yet to come. Impressive. bodo
Sibylle Berg knows how to tell a story. She’s a brilliant stylist. […] One could say that Sibylle Berg is the German Michel Houellebecq. If she didn’t have so much empathy for the kids. With the Frenchman, the egotists, as you know, revolve only around themselves. Badische Zeitung
Grime is a multiplier for the seething rage that carries the text. The novel is fast, unbridled, brutal and dirty. „GRM Brainfuck“ is through and through Grime without really being about Grime. The text does not have to explain the energy and force of Grime itself, because the more than 600 pages convey exactly what Grime is. hiphop.de
She torches a fireworks display that crushes, but also shakes the reader awake. ntv.de
With her latest novel „GRM“, Sibylle Berg presents a vicious masterpiece. profil
The writer Sibylle Berg is known for her grotesque humour. She brilliantly depicts the horror called reality as precisely as possible. Missy Magazine
Mrs. Berg brilliantly reveals human and social abysses and in this way paints a ruthless picture of our time that frightens and awakens. Aviva Berlin
Sibylle Bergs Buch ist mit seinen 640 Seiten ein Ziegel. Man muss ihn nicht werfen, er trifft auch so. Sibylle Berg’s book with its 640 pages is a brick. You don’t need to throw it, it’ll hit you all the same. Kurier
[Sibylle Berg] has taken a very deep breath, thought for a long time, put on her literary boxing gloves and now presents a great novel that has the force of a punch. Nürnberger Nachrichten
The „Brainfuck“ that the playwright delivers with „GRM“ is rounded off by her language and narrative style. She uses youth language, creates bizarre phrases that give the narrative a sober harshness, and weaves all this into a narrative structure that causes dizziness. The total Brainfuck. It causes fear, disgusts, stirs up anger, resigns. And that makes it absolutely great. Furios Campusmagazin TU Berlin
GRM is a literary flying circus that satirizes our trash-prone present in a Pythonesque manner. Literarischer Monat
With its vulgar and brutal language, the novel takes a disturbing look at a future that – in parts – has already begun. SRF
You have to be grateful to Sibylle Berg for this terribly grandiose book that can be an eye-opener. Aachener Zeitung
Sibylle Berg lives in Zurich. She is the author of 23 plays, 14 novels and numerous radio plays and essays. The awards she has received include the Wolfgang Koeppen Prize (2008), the Else Lasker-Schüler Drama Award (2016) and the Kassel Literary Prize for Grotesque Humour (2019). Her novels, journalistic works and theatre plays have been translated into 34 languages. She received the Thuringia Literature Award 2019 for her complete works.
BY THE WAY: This spring, Sibylle Berg publishes a collection of interviews/stories with Kiepenheuer & Witsch – NERDS WILL SAVE THE WORLD. During the work on GRM. BRAINFUCK, the author has travelled all around and has met people of interest to the topics and themes of the novel: reserchers and scholars from cognitive sciences, violence studies, psychologists, marine biologists, you name it. The collection will present the reader with the state of the art research and will prepare You for what is coming!
The book includes notes on meetings with Jürgen Schmidhuber – Lorenz Adlung – Jens Foell – Odile Fillod – Hedwig Richter – Matthias Schuler – Lynn Hersham Leeson – Dirk Helbing – Jutta Weber –Iddo Magen –Valerie M. Hudson – Avi Loeb – Carl Safina – Robert Riener – Wilhelm Heitmeyer – Anja Thierfelder