German tale of stalking takes life of fear to page and screen

Dirk Kurbjuweit’s fact-based bestselling novel asks if violence can be justified in self-defence

A remarkable German novel based on the author’s disturbing real-life experience of being stalked by a neighbour is to be published in the UK later this month.

Fear, a bestseller in Germany that was recently turned into a TV movie, is the work of Dirk Kurbjuweit, deputy editor-in-chief of the current affairs magazine Der Spiegel. In 2003, Kurbjuweit’s downstairs neighbour waged an eight-month campaign against the family, This included waiting in the hallway to shout at Kurbjuweit’s wife, Bettina, trying to get into the family flat through the garden, papering the walls in the hallway with notices accusing the couple of sexually abusing their children, and writing poems and letters addressed to them filled with fantasies of murder.

Related: The day my lawyer advised me to get a gun was the day reality came to an end | Dirk Kurbjuweit

I don’t like guns, I don’t like violence – even in my darkest moments I believed that the state would help us in the end

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