Ghosts of Berlin


Emma Rault

In these hair-raising stories from the celebrated filmmaker and author Rudolph Herzog, millennial Berliners discover that the city is still the home of many unsettled—and deeply unsettling—ghosts. And those ghosts are not very happy about the newcomers.

Thus the coddled daughter of a rich tech executive finds herself slowly tormented by the poltergeist of a Weimer-era laborer, and a German intelligence officer confronts a troll wrecking havoc upon the city’s unbuilt airport. An undead Nazi sympathizer romances a Greek emigre, while Turkish migrants curse the gentrifiers that have evicted them.

Herzog’s keen observational eye and acid wit turn modern city stories into deliciously dark satires that ride the knife-edge of suspenseful and terrifying.

Rudolph Herzog (b.1973) is an award-winning writer and director. His BBC/ARD documentary on humor in Hitler’s Third Reich became the basis of Dead Funny, named a book of the year by The Atlantic. His second book, the critically acclaimed Short History of Nuclear Folly, was later made into a documentary that streamed on Netflix. He is the son of acclaimed filmmaker Werner Herzog.

Translated from German by Emma Rault.

”Splendid and eerie … Herzog has a knack for summoning the uncanny into otherwise austere, modern settings, and further twisting its presence into a foreboding paranoia. … Shrewd and provocative … The plots are thick, and the twists are powerful.” — Dave Wheeler,  Shelf Awareness

Ghosts of Berlin’s explicit foregrounding of the macabre is a clever sleight of hand that also allows for consideration of gentrification … Sharp satire, and a worthy addition to the growing canon of Berlin ghost-lit.” —Booklist

International praise for Ghosts of Berlin:

“Rudolph Herzog is a master craftsman of the horror genre.” Deutschlandfunk

“Herzog is fearless, not because he is unafraid of ghosts, but because he settles them all in bumptious Berlin, which would seem to reject every thought of something as romantic and antiquated as a ghost, yet contains all the historic raw materials that tend to breed ghosts like dunghill maggots. Die Zeit

“In Herzog’s gripping stories, the artistic-wickedness of Berlin and its architectural misery flicker in the twilight.” Süddeutsche Zeitung

“Rudolph Herzog’s ghost stories are downright classics and give Berlin back what was forgotten in the years of the party, the gentrification, the reunification: the horror, the suffering, the spirits of the people who have perished as losers of history.” —Radio Eins