Robert Harris read to fans at Bertelsmann in Berlin

Penguin Random House author Robert Harris was a guest at Bertelsmann Unter den Linden 1 in Berlin. The bestselling author spoke to an enthusiastic audience about his new novel “The Second Sleep.” The actor Denis Abrahams read out longer passages in German. The event was emceed by the cultural journalist David Eisermann.

Robert Harris talked about the genesis of his new novel.
The journalist Dr. David Eisermann, Helen Müller Head of Cultural Affairs and Corporate History at Bertelsmann, Robert Harris and the actor Denis Abrahams
Harris signing his book

In October, Penguin Random House bestseller author Robert Harris presented his new novel “The Second Sleep” to an enthusiastic audience at Bertelsmann Unter den Linden 1 in Berlin. He discussed his current work with cultural journalist David Eisermann, who emcees all of Harris’s book presentations in Germany; the two are a well-rehearsed team. “The Second Sleep” is the author’s first book not set against a backdrop of real historical events. So, as he told the audience, it is the first book he came up with completely on his own. However, he added, he did have a great model for the story: George Orwell’s “1984.”

Robert Harris’s novel paints a gloomy picture of a dystopian society that is in a wretched, medieval state after a catastrophe a long time ago, and in which all thinking and knowledge, even language, are absolutely controlled by an elite. Like Winston Smith, the protagonist of “1984”, the inquisitive young priest Fairfax seeks to find out something about the real past and embarks on a dangerous quest for answers, including the big question “What got lost in the Cloud? The audience in Unter den Linden 1 also learned that the language in the book is based entirely on the vocabulary of the King James Bible; Orwell’s “Newspeak” becomes “Oldspeak” here.

Robert Harris read several short passages from the English original; The actor Denis Abrahams then read out longer passages from the German edition. At the subsequent reception, the author mingled with the guests and readily signed many copies of his new bestseller.