Caron Freeborn – Presenting… the Fabulous O’Learys

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Caron Freeborn – Presenting…the Fabulous O’Learys

1984, after 40 years in the show business, Kenneth O’Leary decides to retire from the stage. His daughters Delia and Raquel simply accept this, then they realise that this will also affect their lives since they both live on their father’s money even though they are both grown up. But this is not their only problem. Delia’s boyfriend Eddie suddenly falls for the older sister – and she for him. And there are people looking out for the family money – life is everything but easy for the O’Learys.

The description of the novel really made me curious about what to await. Caren Freeborn definitely created outstanding characters whom you will not easily forget. Ken, the father, who can only speak though all the lines he used on stage and constantly quotes Shakespeare. Raquel who is stuck somehow between wanting to be a successful nightclub singer and having a real career and caring for her sister. Delia who not only shows clear signs of eating disorders and at least some hints of autism. The minor characters aren’t less intriguing.

Those characters obviously lead to many funny situations and hilarious dialogues, nevertheless, the novel was lacking something on the plot level. Even though I had a lot of fun reading it and admittedly, the characters’ make-up has absolutely succeeded, it could not absolutely convince me.

“Can none of you see it? Not one of you? We can’t do it. We can’t be like other people, not any of us. The trying’s over. Finished.”

I couldn’t agree more with Ken’s conclusion that the family is quite unique and far from being average. They oscillate between being fabulous/fascinating and scary/frightening at the other end. This makes the novel outstanding in the masses of books, yet, I wold have expected a bit more.

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Salman Rushdie – The Golden House

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Salman Rusdie – The Golden House

When the new neighbours move in, René immediately declares them his object of study and protagonists of the film he is going to make. The Golden family are simply fascinating, the father Nero and his three sons Petya, Apu and D. Interestingly, all carry ancient Roman names even though they obviously come from India. There must be more they are hiding. Their male idyll is threatened when Vasilisa shows up, the father’s new Russian lover. When René’s parents die in an accident, the Goldens become his replacement family and he moves in with them which gives him the opportunity to study them from much closer. The more time he spends with them, the more secrets are revealed and finally, he himself becomes a part of the family secret. Yet, the past the Goldens wanted to flee from catches up and they have to pay for what they thought they could leave behind them.

Salman Rushdie is well known for his politically loaded novels which never go unnoticed. Again, his latest novel puts the finger in a wound, this time the American and the question which played a major role in the 2016 presidential election: who is a true American and what makes you and American? Apart from this, in “The Golden House” the supervillain The Joker wins the election which is not very promising for the nation.

Even though there is an obvious political message, this hides behind the family story of the Goldens. Here, unfortunately, I had expected much more. Admittedly, the four men are drawn with noteworthy features and fates and to follow their struggles after settling in the USA is far from uninteresting, but it also is not as fascinating and remarkable as I had expected. It is the chronicles of an immigration family, not less, but also not more. Their numerous secrets can create some suspense, however, much of it is too obvious to really excite.

Where Salman Rushdie can definitely score is in the side notes:

True is such a twentieth-century concept. The question is, can I get you to believe it, can I get it repeated enough times to make it as good as true. The question is, can I lie better than the truth.“ (Pos. 3380) and

“You need to become post-factual. – Is that the same as fictional? – Fiction is élite. Nobody believes it. Post-factual is mass market, information-age, troll generated. It’s what people want. “(Pos. 3390)

These are the times we are living in. Truth is created by the ruling classes and repeated as often as necessary until the people believe it. It is even better than fiction. This should definitely make us think about our consumption of media and question the producers of the news.

I appreciate Rushdie’s capacity of formulating to the point, the masses of references to novels and films are also quite enticing, at least they show that Rushdie himself in fully immersed in the western culture, but, nevertheless, I missed something really captivating in the novel. It was somehow pleasant to read, but not as remarkable as expected.

Rodrigo Hasbún – Affections

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Rodrigo Habún – Affections

A German family emigrating to South America shortly after Worl War II. Hans, a famous film-maker and alpinist who had worked with Leni Riefenstahl, his wife and the three girls Monika, Heidi and Trixi. The father wants to explore the new world, Monika and Heidi accompany him, but they cannot find the lost Inca city. Soon after, the life of the family falls apart. The father is travelling the world, Monika gets married and Heidi is returning to Europe. Only Trixi remains with the mother who is already suffering from cancer and finds her death in the 1950s. The girls’ lives and interests couldn’t hardly differ more. Heidi leads a traditional life in Germany, Trixi is somehow forlorn in Bolivia and Monika has become a fierce supporter of Che Guevara and the guerrillas in South America.

Rodrigo Hasbún, one of the major Spanish-speaking voices in contemporary literature, has based his novel on the true story of the Ertl family. It is supposed that Monika Ertl was to avenger of Che Guevara’s death: in 1971, Bolivia’s ambassador Roberto Quintanilla Pereira was killed in his office in Hamburg by a woman who is supposed to have been her. Off all things, Monika was her father’s beloved child of in whom he saw his only true heiress.

Monika’s life a most intriguing considering the close connection to the Nazi regime, then her fight with and for the guerrilla, the assassination ascribed to her and her death in the Bolivian jungle. Yet, the novel could not really catch me. The characters remain too distant, too vague to really become fascinating and captivating.  I would have liked to get in Monika’s head, to learn how she develops her ideals and her conviction for the fight. But also the others are too distant for me to really get interested in their life and emotions and thoughts.

Apart from the rather shallow characters, the story is centred around the family life. Yet, there are too many leaps in time, too many gaps unfilled to create a complete picture. When Heidi leaves for Germany, her story is lost. Why Trixi is so much detached from the world, remains unclear to me. And the father’s end of career is explained in just one or two sentences.

All in all, an interesting historical figure who could have translated into a great story, but the novel is a bit too superficial in many respects to really convince me.

Jesmyn Ward – Sing, Unburied, Sing

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Jesmyn Ward – Sing, Unburied, Sing

Leonie would like to be a good mother, but she just is not able to. Luckily her two kids Jojo and the toddler Kayla are mainly raised by her parents, Mam and Pop. But now, Mam is in the stadium of cancer and her days are numbered. Additionally, Michael, the kid’s father, is going to be released from prison after three years behind the bars. Leonie is still in love with he, even though Michael’s family hates her, especially his father does not want the black woman in a white man’s house. And not to forget, it was Michael’s family who is responsible for Leonie’s brother’s death. Nevertheless, Leonie takes her kids and her best friend to make a trip to collect Michael. Jojo would prefer to stay with his Mam and Pop, but he is too young to defy his mother. And he has a task to accomplish which can only be done by someone who can listen.

Jesmyn Ward, winner of the 2011 National Book Award for Fiction, portrays in “Sing, Unburied, Sing” a family at the point of collapsing. Her description of Leonie, the mother who just isn’t a mother, is heart-breaking and upsetting. At times, you just want to slap her and shout at her to take care of her children and of herself. To forget about the good-for-nothing father of her children and his racist family. Her twelve-year-old son not only has to parent the toddler, but also throughout the story seems to be much more mature than his mother and remarkably more reasonable and wiser. The only solace when it comes to the kids is the fact that their grand-parents are fond of them and raise them with tenderness and affection. It is hard to read about such a mother, but, on the other hand, it seems to be very realistic. These women who always dream of a better life with the man they love and ignore the painful reality do exist, if we like it or not.

Apart from the outstanding character-painting, Ward’ novel plays with the supernatural. Yet, it is not that unbelievable fictitious creation of fantasy, much more does she derive her idea from some kind of pagan or religious belief in forces beyond our recognition that only the specially gifted can see or hear. Within the family, the blood of the super sensitive seems to run since Mam, Leonie and the kids can obviously communicate with those in the world between the living and the dead. Narrated like this, this seems to be a bit strange and unrealistic, the author, however, integrates this idea in a remarkable way which makes you accept it as a normal part of life and genuine fact.

All in all, a novel which can persuade with the strong characters and a poetic style of writing which affects you deeply.

Nathan Englander – Dinner at the Center of the Earth

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Nathan Englander – Dinner at the Center of the Earth

Berlin 2002. A young Palestinian helps out a Canadian businessman to sail on one of the lakes. The more often they meet, the more intimate they get. Paris, the same year. Prisoner Z falls in love with a waitress. A young woman who turns out to be a super-rich daughter with unlimited opportunities. Israel 2014. The General is in hospital, dying, it is just a question of time until he passes away. The same year, the same country, but in a secret prison cell. Prisoner Z sets all his hopes on the General unsuspecting of the latter’s poor state of health. Slowly, all pieces fit together to narrate a story of spying and love in one of the most conflict-laden regions of the earth.

The short description of the novel was really appealing and promising. I was expecting a suspenseful and tedious story which brings the characters to their limit and in which they oscillate between ethical values and commitment to their country and personal interests and emotions. Yet, the plot is slowly flowing without any remarkable peaks in suspense. It took me quite some time to get an idea of the characters and their connection, how they relate isn’t obvious at all.

The narrative style is quite enticing, the dialogues are vivid, also the presentation of the single characters is effective and thriving. However, due to the various places and side plots, the red thread got lost a bit. We have just fractions of the Israel history of which I really would have liked to read much more. Yet, as it is, there are a lot of narrative paths lain out which, unfortunately, nobody ever walked.

Danya Kukafka – Girl in Snow

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Danya Kukafka – Girl in Snow

No morning routine for janitor Ivan: on his tour around the high school premises he finds the body of Lucinda Hayes, golden girl and now dead. It does not take long to identify possible murders: Ivan first of all, it hasn’t been long since he’s out of prison. Cameron Whitley, the boy from next door who has been stalking Lucinda for quite some time. Jade Dixon-Burns, a slightly overweight outsider who openly hated Lucinda. Mr O. the art teacher who was seen with Lucinda’s diary. Officer Russ Fletcher’s first murder case comes to a very bad moment, his wedding is all but ok and additionally, Ivan is his wife’s brother and Cameron his former partner’s son. How can he objectively investigate this case?

Danya Kukafka has chosen a well-known topic for her debut novel: the murder of the popular teenage girl. Even though many have written about this, she manages to create something new and singular. She provides us with the narrators who tell the story from their point of view and thus slowly unfolds the tragedy of all the three of them – it is not that much the victim herself whom we feel sorry for in the end but much more those three. The author succeeds in creating outstanding characters who really have to tell a story which I found actually from one point on much more interesting than the question who committed the deed.

Let’s start with Jade. From the outside she seems to be the hateful reclusive teenager who is difficult to love due to her negative attitude. Yet, behind this surface, we find a thoughtful girl who has experienced domestic violence, who has to work several jobs in her free time and who lost her best friend Zap to Lucinda. They were really really close, almost could read each other’s thoughts but when they get older and the interest in the opposite sex arises, Zap rejects her mercilessly and in a most offending way which leaves scars forever. Jade has never been popular, often was the victim of bullying, but this rejection breaks something in her. And makes her especially sensitive for other people’s emotions.

Russ, on the other hand, is caught in a conflict. He has a bad conscience for what he has done years before – he always backed his partner, even when he knew that this was not right and when in doing so he was hurting others, especially Cameron and his mother. Is this the point to correct a mistake? However, his mind is also dancing around his wife Inés and how he never really understood her. Do they actually know each other? He doesn’t have a clue about her past in Mexico and doesn’t know how she spends her days. He wanted to make her happy and give her the chance to stay in the USA, but can this, what they have, still be called love? Was it ever love?

Last comes Cameron. He is strange and odd. He is talented in drawing but his obsession with Lucinda is not only weird but morbid. He observes her, spends hours in the evening and night outside her house looking into her window. He even breaks into the Hayes’ house one night and watches her sleeping. He is a bit creepy, but he is also the boy whose police officer father was accused of murder a couple of years back and who has been living only with his mother. As soon as the suspicion falls on him, everybody remembers what his father was suspected of. Cameron does not know what his father has done or hasn’t, but he strongly fears that there is something bad running in his veins. This keeps him from thinking clearly in this situation. And the fact that he has seen the body, doesn’t help to rescue him from being the prime suspect for the reader, too.

The development of those three narrators who tell the story alternatingly gives the novel much more depth than I had expected. Apart from the big question of who is the murder, there are many smaller questions circling around the characters which keep the suspense constantly high. It is not a typical murder novel you cannot put aside due to the high pace and high suspense, no, it rather slowly unfolds and provides you with a complex psychological network of emotions and memories.

C.E. Morgan – The Sport of Kings

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C.E. Morgan – The Sport of Kings

The saga of a family. A family whose life is linked to the soil on which they live and to the horses they breed. John Henry Forge raises his son Henry in the tradition of the white settlers of Kentucky. The supremacy of the white race is never questioned and on the family farm, the roles are clearly ascribed. Young Henry has a dream, already when he is just a small boy, he sees their land as the perfect place for breeding horses, but his father will hear nothing of this. When he takes over the farm, his chance arises and he becomes one of the best in the business. Yet, not only in horses is it important to take care of the blood line, he also chooses his wife with care and thus can produce the perfect white child: Henrietta. Like father like daughter does she grow up learning about the white race’s authority and rule. But times are a changing in the 20th century and creating the perfect race horse and the perfect daughter might not be enough anymore.

C.E. Morgan’s novel has been nominated for most of the important prizes for literature in 2016 and 2017: It has been shortlisted for the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction 2017, for the Rathbones Folio Prize 2017, for the James Tait Black Fiction Prize 2016; it was finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction 2017 and won the Kirkus fiction prize 2017 and the Windham–Campbell Literature Prize 2016. It made the second place on the BBC books of the year 2016 list. Coming with so much glory, the expectations were high and the author easily matched them.

To say what the novel is actually about, is not that easy. Quite logically considering its length, there is a lot in it. First of all, the Forge family. The way the children are raised, the relationships between the generations but also between the spouses are interesting to observe in the way not only they are at a fixed moment in time – I really pitied young Henry when he wanted to share his dreams and visions with his stubborn father – but also how they develop over the time, here Henrietta plays the most important role. Even though she is a woman and as such by nature inferior to men, she can take over the male role and successfully lead the dynasty. But there is not much affection between the characters. It is especially Henrietta who realizes that she is lacking love and warmth and since she has never learnt how to express her feelings, she seriously struggles in getting involved with somebody. It is the women who struggle most with society’s expectations and their inner feelings – not only at the beginning, but also after the year 2000:

“The irony was bare and bitter and unavoidable: she was a woman, so she was a slave to life. Never before had she understood the brutal actuality of life in a body she didn’t choose. (…) Women invited death when they let men inside their bodies! Why did they do it? Love couldn’t possibly be worth it.”

Apart from the humans, the breeding of the horses plays a major role in the plot. I am not into horses at all and know almost nothing about these animals. But it is fascinating to see how close the characters get with them, how they observe details and can communicate with and understand them Also the idea of breeding the perfect race horse is quite appealing and interesting. Admittedly, would I have been asked before if I was interested in the description of a horse race, I certainly would have disagreed, but I was wrong.

Last but not least, a major topic is also slavery, resp. the formal abolition of it but the remaining prejudices in the heads – of the whites as well as the blacks. Even in the year 2006, equally has not been established. There have been improvements, but due to inheritance, a family name and the like – unfortunately not only in literature.

Apart from the plot, it is also C. E. Morgan’s masterly writing which makes reading the novel a pleasure. To tell the stories of the different family members, she finds an individual tone for them. John Henry is reserved, unkind and rather factual. Young Henry is full of childish amazement and effervescent until he becomes the head of the family. Strongest are the women, first of all Henrietta, but also her mother Judith and the housekeeper Maryleen and Allmon’s mother. She gives them a voice and especially thoughts they share with the readers which make them really come to life. She finds metaphors as well as comments by the narrator which sometimes even addresses you directly. The tone is serious at times, funny at others, sometimes sad, rarely joyful – just as life can be.

Jane Austen – Mansfield Park

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Jane Austen – Mansfield Park

Anlässlich des 200. Todestages der großen britischen Autorin war es mal wieder Zeit für einen ihrer Romane, tatsächlich der einzige von ihr, den ich bisher nicht gelesen hatte: Mansfield Park.

Fanny Price wächst in einer kinderreichen und verarmten Familie auf. Ihr Onkel Sir Thomas Bertram holt sie in jungen Jahren nach Mansfield Park, um dort mit den Cousins Tom und Edmund sowie den Cousinen Maria und Julia aufzuwachsen. Die vier Jugendlichen behandeln das Mädchen nie gleich, aber sie hat Zugang zu Bildung und lernt das gesellschaftsadäquate Verhalten ihrer Zeit. Als junge Erwachsene beginnt die Suche nach Ehemann und Gattin. Edmund, der einzige der Verwandten, der sich stets für Fanny einsetzt, plant seine Zukunft als Pfarrer und Mary Crawford hat er als seine zukünftige Braut auserkoren. Deren Bruder Henry hat offenbar Gefallen an den Bertram Schwestern gefunden. Überraschend macht er jedoch Fanny einen Heiratsantrag, den diese sehr zum Ärger ihres Onkels und Cousins Edmund zurückweist, denn Henry Crawford ist eine ausgesprochen gute Partie und weit über ihren Möglichkeiten. Um sie wieder zur Vernunft zu bringen, schickt man sie zurück zu ihren Eltern.

Über die Bedeutung Jane Austens in der britischen Literatur gibt es nicht mehr viel zu sagen. Sie porträtiert die Sitten ihrer Zeit und zeigt unverblümt ihre Absurditäten und Schwächen auf. So auch in Mansfield Park, wo der schöne Schein nach außen und die Frage des Einkommens die entscheidenden Elemente bei der Partnerwahl sind. Nur die junge Fanny hat einen Sinn und Auge dafür, welchen Charakter die Menschen um sie herum haben und kann ihrer Linie treu bleiben, auch wenn sie dafür bestraft wird. Dass sie am Ende Recht behalten sollte, war nun nicht weiter überraschend.

Interessant zum Roman ist die Diskussion, inwiefern Jane Austen als Vorreiterin der Chick-Lit zu sehen ist, hat sie doch einem der Hauptwerke des Genres (Bridget JonesDiary) die Protagonistin geliefert. Das COBUILD Advanced English Dictionary definiert das Genre wie folgt:

Chick lit is modern fiction about the lives and romantic problems of young women, usually written by young women.

Ähnlich die Definition, wie sie auf Wikipedia zu finden ist:

Chick lit or chick literature is genre fiction, which „consists of heroine-centered narratives that focus on the trials and tribulations of their individual protagonists“. The genre often addresses issues of modern womanhood – from romantic relationships to female friendships to matters in the workplace – in humorous and lighthearted ways.

Nimmt man diese als Basis und dazu das Wissen, dass Jane Austens Roman eine Zeitlang im englischsprachigen Raum gezielt mit Covern der typischen modernen Chick-Lit Büchern ausgestattet und in den Buchhandlungen gezielt neben diesen platziert wurden, liegt der Verdacht nahe. Inhaltlich bewegt sich Austen auch in Mansfield Park in ziemlich genau diesem Rahmen, so dass der Verdacht durchaus naheliegt. Dies lässt jedoch die sprachliche Leistung der Autorin und Intention der Gesellschaftskritik ihrer Zeit außer Acht, die beide in modernen Werken des Genres eine untergeordnete bis keine Rolle spielen.

Joshua Cohen – Moving Kings

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Joshua Cohen – Moving Kings

David King is the head of “King’s Moving“, a New York based family business specialised in moving homes. Couples moving in together, couples going separate ways. David and his wife Bonnie also separated, their daughter Tammy wastes his father’s money and his secretary Ruth now manages not only the office but all of David’s life. There is just one thing she cannot help him with: David’s cousin from Israel asked him to welcome her son Yoav for some time. He just came out of the IDF and like all the others, needs some travelling to forget the years in the army. David has only met Yoav once many years ago when he spent a couple of hours with his family in Jerusalem. But he is sure to offer the young man exactly what he needs, not taking into account what serving in one of the world’s toughest armies means.

Joshua Cohen’s novel appears in the beginning to be some lightweight and funny story about making business in New York and knowing (or rather: not knowing) the rules of conduct among the super-rich. David is not the classic businessman who knows his way around the upper class, he disposes of some cleverness which helped him to set up his business, but he is not really familiar with the codes. The same applies to his visit in Israel a couple of years earlier. As a Jew, he feels like having to know the historic sites in Israel but cannot connect anything with the places – just like his cousin who shows him around. When family duty calls, in form of accommodating young Yoav, he does not hesitate to fulfil the wish.

However, with the appearance of Yoav, the novel changes its tone. It is not the humorous atmosphere which prevails now, but a rather despairing and depressive mood that comes from Yoav and takes over. Having served three years in the IDF did not go without scars for him. He was in a special unit which was of no special use in peaceful times but well equipped for the emergency. Now as a civilian, he has serious problems integrating into normal life. He can only accomplish small tasks every day and spends most of his time on the couch doing nothing. He can hardly cope with being alive, not speaking of building friendships and a new life in a foreign country.

The novel takes another turn when Yoav’s fried Uri makes his appearance. Being allocated the same unit should have created a lifelong bond, but the young men are very different and their diverting points of view create more and more tension between them. Yoav is reflecting on his place in the world and what he has seen and done in the army:

“you can’t stop being a soldier, just like you can’t stop being a Jew […] You were born a soldier, because you were born a Jew. “ (pos. 1392)

By birth he is denied the chance of making a choice in his life. And as an Israeli, people will never be impartial when they meet him. Everybody has an opinion, either on Jews, or in Israelis, or on both. They are held responsible for things they are neither responsible for nor had a chance to do something about it.

A third party is contrasted with them. A black veteran who fought in Vietnam and has lost in belief in the Christian God as well as the American state who should take care of those who have served the country abroad. His only way out is converting to Islam and seeking refuge in addiction. So, who of them is worse off? The forgotten veteran, the black American, the American Jew or the Israeli Jew?

How defining is religion after all? For most of the characters it does not provide help or relief from everyday burdens. It also does not seem to provide a framework to organise their life around. So, build your life without it, but what are the rules then? It seems to be a minefield and you can only survive of you are stronger and live at the expenses of the others it seems.

Olivier Adam – Die Summe aller Möglichkeiten

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Olivier Adam – Die Summe aller Möglichkeiten

Zweiundzwanzig Figuren, deren Wege sich im L’Estérel im Hinterland der Côte d’Azur kreuzen. Antoine, großes Fussballtalent, der jedoch an seinem unkontrollierten Temperament immer wieder scheitert und beruflich sowie im Privatleben nicht auf einen grünen Zweig kommt. Mit Baseballschlägern niedergeknüppelt und beinahe tot wird er ins Krankenhaus eingeliefert. Sein Freund Jeff scheint etwas zu wissen, ist aber selbst vor Angst wie gelähmt. Antoines Schwester Louise hat andere Sorgen, sie will nicht mehr länger die Ersatzmutter für ihn spielen. Die Mutter seines Sohnes Nino, Marion, ist zwar in einer neuen Partnerschaft, kann jedoch die noch vorhandenen Gefühle für ihren Ex nicht leugnen. Im Krankenhaus liegt auch Paul, der gerade seine geliebte Hélène verloren hat, dabei wollte er doch mit ihr in den Tod gehen. Ebenso wie Léa, deren Eltern sie seit Monaten vergeblich suchten. Die Polizei hat viel zu tun, nicht nur der Überfall auf Antoine wirft Fragen auch, auch ein Einbruch und das mysteriöse Verschwinden gleich mehrerer Bewohner stellt sie vor Rätsel.

Die Figuren geben sich buchstäblich den Staffelstab in die Hand. Nacheinander begegnen sie sich und erzählen ihre Geschichten und Sichtweisen. Antoine beginnt, bevor er an Marion übergibt, die bei ihrem Job im Hotel dem alten Ehepaar Paul und Hélène begegnet. So setzt sich die Geschichte fort, bis sie wieder mit Antoine beschlossen wird. Durch die unterschiedlichen Perspektiven ergeben die einzelnen Kapitel erst zusammen eine vollständige Geschichte.

„Das ist das Problem mit dem Leben, dachte Antoine. Dasjenige, das man hat, ist immer zu eng, und das, das man gerne hätte, ist zu groß, um es sich auch nur vorzustellen. Die Summe aller Möglichkeiten ist das Unendliche, das gegen null tendiert.“ Alle Figuren haben in ihrem Leben ihre Träume nicht verwirklichen könne. Sie haben Entscheidungen für und gegen etwas getroffen und sinnieren darüber nach, wie es auch, womöglich besser hätte sei. können. Zum Beispiel als erfolgreicher Fußballer, oder mit einem anderen Partner, oder ohne einen Schicksalsschlag. Das Leben, das sie ihres nennen, führt zu Frustration, Langeweile, Verzweiflung. Doch einen Ausweg gibt es nicht, sie haben nur das eine. Und andere Möglichkeiten bieten sich nicht mehr, dafür ist zu viel passiert.

Neben einer Sozialstudie des gesellschaftlichen Randes, der Kriminellen, der Gescheiterten, derjenigen mit mehreren Jobs, um zu überleben, bleibt auch eine gewisse Spannung nicht aus, denn die Frage, was mit Antoine geschehen ist, wer ihn aus welchem Grund beinahe ermordet hätte, zieht sich durch das Buch, wenn sie auch nicht stringent verfolgt wird. Die Auflösung ist symptomatisch für das Leben der Figuren und daher ausgesprochen passend und logisch.

Der Roman überzeugt aufgrund zweierlei Aspekte: die Form der Konstruktion ist ungewöhnlich und erfordert einen exakten Plan, um am Ende in dieser Weise aufzugehen und stimmig zu werden. Die Figurenzeichnung schafft die Balance, den einzelnen Charakteren eine Stimme zu verleihen ohne Mitleid zu erregen, obwohl die meisten in irgendeiner Form Verlierer sind, und ohne sie für ihr Leben zu verachten, auch wenn sie für vieles an ihrer aktuellen Situation selbst Verantwortung tragen. Alles in allem hat Olivier Adam erneut die hohen Erwartungen erfüllen können.