Bestselling author Benjamin von Stuckrad-Barre published his eagerly awaited novel “Still awake?” on Wednesday. published. In the evening he gave his first reading in front of an audience with numerous celebrities at the Theater Berliner Ensemble. In a “Spiegel” interview published on the same day, the 48-year-old protested that – as previously speculated in media reports – it could be a roman a clef about the Axel Springer media company.

Writer von Stuckrad-Barre said when asked by the “Spiegel” interviewer whether he had written a roman a clef about the publisher (“Bild”, “Welt”): “Roman roman a clef? Absolutely not. What an unpleasant thing that is Word, what does that even mean? When it comes to “roman a clef” everyone thinks of the wrong door.”

“Classic of SMS communication”

“Still awake?” is the name of the fictional work with 370 pages. Stuckrad-Barre is known for books like “Soloalbum” and “Panikherz”. The author said in the interview: “”Still awake?” is a classic of SMS communication. Almost everyone who has been out in the nightlife for a while has already written it themselves or received a message like this – just better not in the context of a professional dependency relationship.”

The book begins by emphasizing that it is “in part inspired by various real events”. The novel is “however, a detached and independent fictional story”. The author “created a completely independent new work”.

In the evening, the 48-year-old read aloud from a few chapters on the stage in the Berliner Ensemble while smoking. Here, too, he again emphasized the fictitious in his work and said something like: “There are so many imaginary people in this book – it’s unbelievable.”

“Power Structures and Abuse of Power”

In the first chapter, an emerging relationship of trust between a trainee and the editor-in-chief of a TV station is described. The author sketches how the young woman feels flattered by the approval and attention of her boss. They eat lunch together in his office and then make an appointment for the evening, they say.

In one of the earlier chapters, a friend (they are “practically brothers”) of the narrator, who owns a television station, also appears. While driving in the western United States, the narrator in the car tells this friend about news that he considers problematic. The station’s editor-in-chief sent these messages to a younger employee. The first-person narrator clearly expresses his aversion to the editor-in-chief.

The book publisher Kiepenheuer

“An Open Secret”

Days before the publication, Stuckrad-Barre had attracted attention with a PR campaign: numerous celebrities, including actors, musicians and journalists from ARD, spoke the headlines of the 18 chapters, which were sent bit by bit to the reached the public. They are called, for example, “Then women don’t have to be surprised”, “Men of the West”, “Now it’s getting dirty” or “An open secret”.

Inquiries to Verlag Kiepenheuer

The author also gave an interview to the public broadcaster ZDF in advance, the conversation was presented in the evening in the main news “heute journal”. He said: “Let’s say: a boss and a trainee fall in love at work, wonderful story. It all started on the fax machine and today nobody can separate them.” And further: “But is it equally easy for both of them to end this relationship? The answer is clear. And there is abuse of power.”