1979 (novel)

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First edition cover
AuthorChristian Kracht
PublisherKiepenheuer & Witsch
Publication date
24 September 2001

1979 is a 2001 novel by the Swiss writer Christian Kracht. It is set in 1979 and tells the story of an aloof homosexual who gets caught up in political turmoil in Iran and China.


The protagonist is a homosexual young man who travels to Tehran with his ex-boyfriend Christopher. It is the time of the Iranian Revolution, and as Christopher dies during a drug binge, the full revolution breaks out. The protagonist is convinced to travel to Tibet to climb the sacred Mount Kailash, only to be captured by the Chinese army. He spends time in an internment camp where he is indoctrinated and goes along with the survival techniques the prisoners develop. Throughout the story, the man is largely unaffected by the events around him and pays more attention to art, music, food and furnishings.


The book was published by Kiepenheuer & Witsch on 24 September 2001. The original German cover was designed by Peter Saville, known for his record sleeves for artists associated with Factory Records.

The novel has been translated into Bulgarian, Danish, Dutch, Estonian, French, Hebrew, Italian, Latvian, Lithuanian, Romanian, Russian, Spanish and Swedish.


Elke Heidenreich of Der Spiegel wrote: "It is a laconic novel about the lack of sense, of global ideas, it is the likewise laconic statement that you can do anything to a man, even subdue him to inhuman totalitarianism, because he has no capability for resistance whatsoever." The critic continued: "1979 is a novel about decadence — the decadence of western consumption and eastern doctrines of salvation, the decadence of prison camps and the decadence of drug parties, 'and suddenly, at once, I saw myself in my full disgracefulness'."[1]


A stage version of the novel directed by Matthias Hartmann premiered in 2004 and was performed in theatres in Zurich, Bochum, Hannover and Vienna.[2]


  1. ^ Heidenreich, Elke (8 October 2001). "Autoren: Nichts wird je wieder gut". Der Spiegel (in German) (41/2001). Retrieved 12 March 2015. Es ist ein lakonischer Roman über den Mangel an Sinn, an weltumspannenden Ideen, es ist die ebenso lakonische Feststellung, dass man mit dem Menschen alles machen kann, ihn sogar unmenschlichem Totalitarismus unterwerfen, weil er geistig zu einem Widerstand überhaupt nicht in der Lage ist." "1979 ist ein Roman über Dekadenz - die Dekadenz westlichen Konsums und östlicher Heilslehren, die Dekadenz der Lager und die Dekadenz der Drogenpartys, 'und plötzlich, auf einmal, sah ich auch mich in meiner ganzen widerlichen Erbärmlichkeit'.
  2. ^ "1979". burgtheater.at (in German). Burgtheater. Archived from the original on 2 April 2015. Retrieved 12 March 2015.

External links[edit]

  • 1979 at the publisher's website (in German)