Richard Kämmerlings in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung looks at the scandal at the French Bank Societe Generale involving a rogue trader and complains that contemporary German fiction doesn't depict the realities of modern life: it is too focused on the private sphere:
"As a reader, you start to starve, after eating from only one food group. What's missing is the stuff that forms our lives beyond the private sphere: the economy, technology, medicine, the military, even media. It’s easy to explain why this is happening. But it’s harder to explain why no one reacts. These days, a writer generally has absolutely no idea about these highly sophisticated systems, with their inherent logic and terminology."
Kämmerlings points to the American writer Tom Wolfe and his book of social satire The Bonfires of the Vanities which captured the essence of the Wall Street trading floor as an example for German writers. But maybe German writers should look to revive the Zeitroman, which flourished in the Weimar Republic. Back then writers such as Herman Kesten and Erich Kästner wrote novels about book publishers, newsrooms, and advertising agencies. Martin Kessel captured the human comedy of big city office politics in Herrn Brechers Fiasco , a novel which could have served as a model for today's popular TV show The Office. Writers such as Ernst von Salomon wrote about life in the military, while Arbeiterlitatur - fiction about the factory floor written by echt proletarians such as Willi Bredel and Kurt Held - was very popular.
Of course, in the 1920s and 1930s there were no "writing programs" for fledgling novelists at German universities. Writers were forced to make a living in the workplace to subsidize their writing, and literature profited from this closeness to and knowledge of everyday experience.