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Homo Faber (Suhrkamp Taschenbuch #354)

3.75  ·  Rating details ·  12,094 Ratings  ·  340 Reviews
Walter Faber, engineer, is a man for whom only the tangible, calculable, verifiable exists. Dubbed Homo Faber (Man the Maker) by associates, he is devoted to the service of a purely technological world. This devoted service is not, however, without cost: on a flight to South America Faber succumbs to what he interprets as "fatigue phenomena," and we see him lose touch with ...more
Paperback, 201 pages
Published March 1st 1977 by Suhrkamp (first published 1957)
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Wolfgang A colloquial translation:
"The difference betweeen a probable and an improbable event does not lie in their essential natures, but rather only in the…more
A colloquial translation:
"The difference betweeen a probable and an improbable event does not lie in their essential natures, but rather only in the frequency with which they occur. The more frequent event appears at the outset to be more believable. But when an improbable event does occur there is nothing really special or miraculous about it, as many (non-professional) peope seem to think."(less)
Wolfgang
This answer contains spoilers… (view spoiler)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Ian "Marvin" Grayejoy
April 20, 2011:

I bought this book in 1979 and read it sometime in the early 80's.

It's only a couple of hundred pages, so when Praj asked me to review it, I thought, hey, why not re-read it (even though I very rarely re-read books).

April 22, 2011:

Re-reading this novel has been a total revelation.

Firstly, I had previously rated it four stars from memory. Now I have upgraded it to five stars.

It's not just good, it's great, one of the best books I've read.

Secondly, I haven't seen the Volker Schlondo
...more
Warwick
And now here at last is a real book for grown-ups. Intelligent and utterly unsentimental, Homo Faber would, I feel, have been wasted on me if I'd read it ten years ago; now it strikes me as extraordinary. (This is unlike most novels, which, if not actually aimed at people in their late teens and early twenties, seem to resonate most strongly with that intense and exciting age group.)

As it happens, Walter Faber, the central character of this novel, does not read novels at all. He can't see the po
...more
Manny
Warning: contains major spoilers for Sophie's World

Manfred, my inner German child, is looking even smugger and more annoying than usual.

"I'm not a child any more," he informs me. "I'm grown up. I read Max Frisch's Homo Faber."

"You are a child, Manfred," I sigh. "You're only three."

"Three and a half," says Manfred with a little less confidence.

"Three and a half if you like," I agree. "And you didn't understand that book. It was too difficult for you."

"Did so," says Manfred.

"Okay, Manfred," I say
...more
Jan-Maat
Jul 05, 2011 added it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Jan-Maat by: My mother
What a difference a reread makes. Now I want to seize everybody in turn by the lapels and say 'read this book and then read it again!'.

Unusually I know when I had the book for the first time, the Easter of 1995, there's an inscription in my Mother's handwriting on a flyleaf with that date. Now I've read it again, but also read it for the first time. You can't read the same book twice since you never can be the same reader.

The narrator doesn't see things that way. He is told: "technology..the kna
...more
Edward
Oct 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I had never heard of this book, or of its author, but boy am I glad I decided to buy it on a whim. It is a work that deserves to stand with Camus and Sartre in its penetration of the modern condition; an understanding of which is in each case elucidated through the perspective of a misanthrope.

The protagonist, Faber, is an engineer, who is characterised by certain stereotypically male traits: he lacks empathy, and is logical and analytical to the point of inhumanity. He treats significant event
...more
Praj
Apr 18, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lp
“Nothing is harder than to accept oneself." - Max Frisch.

Walter Faber is a paradigm of collective identity v/s self-identity, rationality v/s irrationality and providence v/s concurrence; counter positioning free will. You cannot find yourself anywhere except in yourself. Frisch portrays the contradictory worlds of methodical reasonableness and the quandary of being a mortal. Walter believes in what he nurtures. As a technologist working for UNESCO, he lives in the present and connects with th
...more
Matt
Jun 25, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

This book is required reading in many schools in Germany. Crazy idea. What are the “children” supposed to get out of it? And so are the ratings and reviews (here and elsewhere) by the young ones. Unfavorable. I have, I believe, seen the film one time. But have forgotten all about it.

Homo Faber is Walter Faber. Engineer. Lives by the motto “für einen Ingenör ist nichts zu schwör”. Constructs his world around technology. Writes letters in the desert after an emergency landing on a typewriter (mech
...more
Paul
Jun 03, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: european-novels
On the surface a straightforward story, simple and resembling a parable; but like a parable capable of many interpretations and readable on more than one level.
Walter faber is a rational man who believes in technology, a creature of habit. A series of events disrupt his settled life. A plane crash, a chance meeting with the brother of an old friend, a visit to the friend in central america, whose body they discover at his home. Then there ia a boat journey across the Atlantic. Faber, a middle a
...more
Joselito Honestly and Brilliantly
A series of number cropping up everywhere you look ("a lotto winning combination"). A girl (or a boy) you meet, accidentally, in several unlikely places ("we are meant for each other"). A sudden inclement weather on a scheduled date for a job interview ("a better job is waiting for me elsewhere"). Coincidences, synchronicity--people read meanings from them, even the atheists or those who believe in the pure randomness of the world.

An author who can create a world, and horrify you with it (e.g.,
...more
jesse
Aug 25, 2009 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
i truly hate this book! i had to read it in class once and create a frikking presentation. my mood drops several degrees when only thinking about this crappy book!

HIGHLY NOT RECOMMENDED
Hadrian
Aug 18, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: german, fiction
A novel of slowing down and being left behind by the world and technology, and the imprisonment that that world might bring.
Blanca Mazón
Nov 25, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I can't believe this book is under the category "unpopular books"!!! this is one of books that have influenced me the most. The story of this man destined to become a robot, ignoring his emotions, trying to avoid suffering and depending always on logic and system, is a story of people in the 20th century. What we know now about emotional intelligence is what Max Faber lacks. If someone is interested in the depths and miseries of the human soul, he should read this book. Morover the language is s ...more
Anne
Nov 27, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
oh my god I am so glad to be done with this tortuous book. I appreciate the other reviewers who point out the reasons for this story's existence. It is very well-written and I suppose it serves to remind us not to live like robots, to have feelings. Fortunately I don't live like a robot and I already have many feelings, thank you very much, so for me reading this was like spending hours and hours with a depressed and depressing very sad old man who is telling me all his regrets without even real ...more
AC
Oct 23, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
How moving... How..., shockingly...surprisingly so
Ugh
Feb 21, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Missy J
I’m not going to lie. Homo Faber was a difficult story to read. We meet a restless and unfeeling man called Walter Faber, who understands the world only through reason and technology. At the beginning of the novel, Faber travels to South America, but the plane crashes in the Mexican desert. Despite being stranded in the desert for several days, Faber does not lose his temper and fixates his mind on playing chess to pass the time. By chance, he learns that a fellow passenger is the brother of his ...more
Vit Babenco
Jul 29, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“There aren't any prehistoric monsters any more. Why should I imagine them? I'm sorry, but I don't see any stone angels either; nor demons; I see what I see – the usual shapes due to erosion and also my long shadow on the sand, but no ghosts.”
Walter Faber is a pragmatist and he lives as if he is blown by the wind – he is a ship without an anchor and there is no haven for him in the sea of life and there is no place he can call his own. And in this endless roaming and his genuflection before the
...more
George Georgiadis
May 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: chocolate
Η ροή και το ύφος της αφήγησης συμβαδίζει σε όλη την έκταση του βιβλίου με τον τρόπο σκέψης και την αντιμετώπιση του κόσμου μέσα από τη ματιά του πρωταγωνιστή. Ο Φάμπερ διαγράφει μια πορεία από τον ορθολογισμό και την επίπεδη αντίληψη των πραγμάτων έως τον έντονο συναισθηματισμό και την ενσυναίσθηση και -αναπόφευκτα- στην τελική συντριβή.
Gregory Tkac
Nov 25, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A friend of mine, originally from Lichtenstein, read my first book and then immediately suggested that I read Max Frisch's "Homo Faber". He described it as a standard lit class novel in German language high schools throughout Europe, and I cringed with the notion that it would be boring as hell. When he told me that it was from one of the most famous Swiss authors and that it would be interesting to read his 1950's take on Switzerland, México and the US (all places I've lived) as well as some of ...more
Zeynep Nur
Oct 16, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: klasikler, roman
2 kere 2'nin 4 ettiği bir dünyada yaşarken bir anda geçmişi ile yüzleşmek durumunda kalan Mr. Faber'in hikayesi Homo Faber. Kimi zaman ne yaptığı anlaşılmıyor, kimi zaman ise kendi mantığına göre en iyisini yapıyor. Garip bir karakter, 'teknik adam' tabiri üzerine cuk oturuyor. Öte yandan Amerikan toplumu ve Amerikanvari yaşam, kürtaj, yalnızlaşma gibi konulardaki düşünceleriyle potansiyel bir sosyolog.

Ama karakter hakkında öyle bir sıkıntı var ki, kitap bittiğinde hala anlayamamıştım: Kendi öz
...more
Albena
Feb 18, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Една от книгите, които ме е формирала като човек. Оттам и петте звезди.
Любимата ми реплика за тежки състояния, "Не плача. Просто ми се иска да ме няма." е от "Хомо Фабер".
Но книгата не е тежка. Не е тъжна, не е весела. Тя е полиедърна, многогранна, дълбока и дълбаеща.
Една от книгите за спасяване на самотен остров.
Katrin
I had to read this for school and it was better than all the other books I've read for school. I actually enjoyed it and it was really quick and easy to read.
GrauWolf
"Homo Faber" è un romanzo del 1957 scritto dallo scrittore e architetto svizzero Max Frisch.
Walter Faber è un ingegnere svizzero che lavora per l'Unesco e trascorre la maggior parte del suo tempo in viaggio per i paesi sottosviluppati.
Faber è un uomo razionale che vede ogni cosa come un'insieme di numeri e probabilità,crede che i sentimenti siano sinonimi di stanchezza ed è "affaticato" dagli esseri umani.
Si potrebbe parlare molto del protagonista:del suo carattere cinico e insensibile o della s
...more
Alexander
Dec 07, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Um Gottes Willen. Endlich geschafft. Meiner Meinung nach völlig überbewertet. Ein 200 Seiten langes blablablablablablabla. Wenn man die Namen Hanna und Sabeth aus dem Buch löschen würde, wär es wahrscheinlich nur 50 Seiten lang. Sabeth macht dies, Sabeth macht das, Hanna will weg aus Griechenland, Hanna will doch in Athen bleiben.... Bla bla bla.
Martin
Feb 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Homo Faber oder der Anti-Ödipus in der modernen Welt — Versuch einer subjektiven Interpretation des Gefallens
*enthält Spoiler*

Rezensionen und Anmerkungen zu Homo Faber gibt es zuhauf, und die Meinung zu dem Werk ist je nach Quelle größtenteils gut bis sehr gut. Nichtsdestotrotz stelle ich mir sehr oft die Frage, warum denn das Werk so besonders anspricht. Diese Frage soll im folgenden beantwortet werden, wobei das Ganze rein subjektiv zu verstehen.

Homo Faber erzählt von einer vergangenen Welt.
...more
dely
Sep 02, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 0-switzerland
Era da molto che volevo leggere questo libro, ma non riuscivo mai a trovarne una copia tra l'usato. Poco tempo fa l'ho trovata e dopo tanto cercare non ho voluto rimandarne la lettura.
Il libro mi è piaciuto anche se mi aspettavo molto di più perché ne avevo sentito parlare benissimo e quindi forse vivevo di aspettative. La traduzione italiana lascia un po' a desiderare perché c'erano delle espressioni che non avevano molto senso. Penso che in futuro lo leggerò anche in tedesco.

La valutazione ch
...more
Jessica Gillies
Aug 12, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: school
Somewhat non-plussed, I think this kind of classic just isn't for me.
Mel
Jun 21, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Read this for school
Munke
Jul 11, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ich mag Homo Faber :-p
Nooilforpacifists
Unbelievably compelling; a spiraling of complexity and madness. Almost any description would be a spoiler, but in its simplest form: a very model of the modern (and detached) Swiss modernist is thrust into a whirlwind increasingly beyond his understanding. When epiphany arrives, death and insanity are its companions.


"She thought it stupid of a woman to want to be understood by a man; the man (said Hanna) wants the woman to be a mystery, so that he can be inspired and excited by his own incompre
...more
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Reading 1001: Homo Faber by Max Frisch 1 8 Feb 15, 2016 12:07PM  
  • Der Richter und sein Henker
  • Draußen vor der Tür
  • Sansibar oder der letzte Grund
  • The German Lesson
  • Fabian. Die Geschichte eines Moralisten
  • Der Untertan
  • Nathan der Weise
  • Effi Briest
  • Das siebte Kreuz
  • Die Erzählungen
  • Green Henry
  • Wilhelm Tell
  • The Last World
  • Aus dem Leben eines Taugenichts
  • Small World
  • Jugend ohne Gott
  • The Lost Honor of Katharina Blum
  • Bahnwärter Thiel
6530
Max Rudolph Frisch was born in 1911 in Zurich; the son of Franz Bruno Frisch (an architect) and Karolina Bettina Frisch (née Wildermuth). After studying at the Realgymnasium in Zurich, he enrolled at the University of Zurich in 1930 and began studying German literature, but had to abandon due to financial problems after the death of his father in 1932. Instead, he started working as a journalist a ...more
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“Technology... the knack of so arranging the world that we don't have to experience it.” 79 likes
“I've often wondered what people mean when they talk about an experience. I'm a technologist and accustomed to seeing things as they are. I see everything they are talking about very clearly; after all, I'm not blind. I see the moon over the Tamaulipas desert--it is more distinct than at other times, perhaps, but still a calculable mass circling around our planet, an example of gravitation, interesting, but in what way an experience? I see the jagged rocks, standing out black against the moonlight; perhaps they do look like the jagged backs of prehistoric monsters, but I know they are rocks, stone, probably volcanic, one should have to examine them to be sure of this. Why should I feel afraid? There aren't any prehistoric monsters any more. Why should I imagine them? I'm sorry, but I don't see any stone angels either; nor demons; I see what I see--the usual shapes due to erosion and also my long shadow on the sand, but no ghosts. Why get womanish? I don't see any Flood either, but sand lit up by the moon and made undulating, like water, by the wind, which doesn't surprise me; I don't find it fantastic, but perfectly explicable. I don't know what the souls of the damned look like; perhaps like black agaves in the desert at night. What I see are agaves, a plant that blossoms once only and dies. Furthermore, I know (however I may look at the moment) that I am not the last or the first man on earth; and I can't be moved by the mere idea that I am the last man, because it isn't true. Why get hysterical? Mountains are mountains, even if in a certain light they may look like something else, but it is the Sierra Madre Oriental, and we are not standing in a kingdom of the dead, but in the Tamaulipas desert, Mexico, about sixty miles from the nearest road, which is unpleasant, but in what way an experience? Nor can I bring myself to hear something resembling eternity; I don't hear anything, apart from the trickle of sand at every step. Why should I experience what isn't there?” 7 likes
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