Daniel Torday – Boomer1

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Daniel Torday – Boomer1

It’s music that makes Cassie Black and Mark Brumfeld fall in love in New York. Together they play in a band and also share their lives, but somehow it doesn’t really fit. It is especially their professional situation that creates a lot of tension, Mark dreams of writing a novel or at least getting a lecturing position at university. When he proposes to Cassie, this is the necessary point of no return for her and they split up. Cassie is offered a job in a somehow strange start-up media company where she fact checks articles but is always unsure of what she really does. After some more failures, Mark returns to his parents’ home in Baltimore. One day, Cassie comes across a video online: her ex published a series of statements against the Baby Boomers who occupy all the good jobs and make life hard for his generation. What was initially meant as a rant due to his personal situation, ends in a violent revolution.

Daniel Torday narrates the novel “Boomer1” through the three perspectives of Cassie, Mark and Julia, Mark’s mother. This gives him the possibility to show the same scenes from different angels which sometimes also spins the way we as a reader perceive it. Even though there are many humorous and highly comical scenes, there are some underlying truths in the story which give it a lot more depth than it might seem to have on the surface.

First of all, I could highly sympathise with Cassie’s job at the media company RazorWire. She always wonders what she is doing – and actually many of her colleagues spend their working time playing computer games and watching YouTube videos. It may seem a common prejudice but reality has shown that many of those start-ups have disappeared more quickly than they were founded since they didn’t create anything at all.

I can also understand Mark’s deception and despair. Being highly qualified but having the impression of being of no use on the labour market because all positions are taken by some old people who could easily retire is just frustrating. Waiting for the life to begin is hard to endure.

Also their struggle with relationships is something that is well-known in the generation of millennials. Heterosexual as well as homosexual experiences, splitting up getting back together – they dream of their childhood when life was easy and families followed traditional patterns. They know that this is not something they will not get as easily as their parents got it. Somehow their whole life is fragile and nothing is sure anymore. What else could be the logical consequence other than a revolution? Starting it online is simply logical for them.

I really liked the novel, it is entertaining and well-written and has a noteworthy message, too.

Dennis Lehane – Der Abgrund in dir

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Dennis Lehane – Der Abgrund in dir

Rachel Childs wächst mit ihrer Mutter auf, die mit Ratgebern ein Vermögen gemacht hat. Ein Vater fehlt ihr nicht wirklich, dennoch würde sie gerne wissen, wer sie Erzeugt hat. Die Mutter verspricht das Geheimnis zu lüften, schiebt dies jedoch immer weiter hinaus, bis sie schließlich bei einem Unfall. Rachel engagiert den Privatdetektiv Brian Delacroix, der auch den einen oder anderen potenziellen Kandidaten auftut, die sich jedoch alle als falsche Spur herausstellen. Nachdem ihre Karriere als Journalistin ein jähes Ende nimmt und ihre Ehe mit Sebastian geschieden wird, trifft sie nach Jahren wieder auf Brian und die beiden verlieben sich. Er scheint der Mann ihres Lebens zu sein und steht Rachel in ihren schwersten Stunden, in denen sie von Panikattacken überfallen wird, bei. Doch irgendetwas kommt ihr komisch vor, ein unbestimmtes Gefühl nagt an ihr und bald schon mehren sich die Zeichen, die darauf hindeuten, dass Brian nicht der Mann ist, den sie glaubt geheiratet zu haben.

Dennis Lehane, international ausgezeichneter Autor, der seit rund 25 Jahren eine feste Größe im Krimigenre ist. zahlreiche seiner Romane wurden verfilmt und er selbst hat auch mehrere Drehbücher für die Serie „The Wire“ geschrieben. „Der Abgrund in dir“ unterstreicht einmal mehr seinen Platz unter den ganz Großen, denn wenn dem Roman eine Sache gelingt, dann ist es immer wieder zu überraschen und Fahrt in eine völlig neue Richtung aufzunehmen.

Langsam und gemächlich beginnt die Geschichte um Rachel und ihre Suche nach dem Vater. Dies scheint das zentrale Element des Romans zu sein und mit jedem vermeintlichen Kandidaten, der sich wieder als der nicht Richtige herausstellt, steigt die Spannung auf den echten. Doch dann steht plötzlich Rachels Karriere als Journalistin und erfolgreiche Reporterin im Zentrum der Handlung. Was wird sie in dem völlig zerstörten Haiti aufdecken, in welche Gefahr begibt sie sich? Nun ja, hier endet auch schon dieses Kapitel und ihr Privatleben rückt in den Fokus. Vor allem ihre Ängste, die sie ans Haus fesseln, bestimmen wesentlich den weiteren Fortgang. Glücklicherweise findet sie in ihrem zweiten Ehemann Brian einen zugewandten und verständnisvollen Partner. Als man denkt, dass alle Kämpfe entschieden sind und Rachels Leben sich auf die Befreiung der Dämonen, die sie in Ketten legen, konzentrieren wird, packt Lehane erst richtig aus und der Roman verwandelt sich zu einem regelrechten Psychothriller, mit einem Tempo, das einem den Atem stocken lässt.

Erst wenn man den Roman ausgelesen hat, wird deutlich, wie clever dieser konstruiert ist und wie die einzelnen Teile ineinandergreifen, die zuvor mehr lose und episodenhaft nebeneinanderstanden. Vor allem Rachels Charakter und psychisches Befinden wird maßgeblich durch die Ereignisse beeinflusst und hier zeigt sie Lehanes professioneller Hintergrund als Therapeut. Man merkt auch, dass er beim Schreiben schon den Film vor Augen sieht, stark sind die Bilder, die er hervorruft und es fällt einem nicht schwer, die Handlung zu visualisieren. Eine entschlossene Frauenfigur, die auch schwach sein kann, sich immer wieder aufrafft, selbst am Schopf packt und weitergeht – nur wohin, ist noch die Frage.

Ein herzlicher Dank geht an den Diogenes Verlag für das Rezensionsexemplar. Mehr Informationen zu Autor und Buch finden sich auf der Verlagsseite.

Adib Khorram – Darius the Great is not Okay

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Adib Khorram – Darius the Great is not Okay

Darius Kellner has never really fit in into Chapel Hill High-School, not just because he is half-Persian but also because of his depression which makes it hard for him to make friends. When is grandfather gets seriously ill, his whole family is flying to Yazd for the first time: his father, whom he considers an “Übermensch” because he is perfect in every respect, his beloved mother and his 8-year-old sister Laleh. Even though Iran is much less different from his home than expected, Darius, or Darioush as he is called there, makes masses of new experiences. He finds a good friend in Sohrab, plays football successfully and with fun, he tries out great Persian food and the family relationships somehow shift and allow him another look at how things are between himself and the rest of his family. When he returns, he is not the Darius he was before anymore, a bit of Darioush the Great has come with him to the US and he accepts that at times it is ok just not to be okay.

Adib Khoram’s novel presents a very different perspective on many things we know from novels. First of all, it is not an immigrant who comes to the US and has to adjust, but vice versa, an American boy, who even though he has a Persian mother is not speaking any Farsi, who discovers a country and its people of the Middle East. Khoram doesn’t play on clichés here, luckily, Darius does not come with too many ideas about his mother’s native country and enters it rather open-mindedly. Additionally, Darius is at the age where he could have his first girl-friend, but it is not a girl he meets and falls for, but a boy with whom he makes friends. And thirdly, the novel does not present a happy-end where everything is cured and everyone is fine. Darius still suffers from depression and has to fight for every little step in his life. Just travelling to Iran and back does not change everything.

I really enjoyed reading to book. Most of all because it gave a lot of interesting insight in the life in Iran, but also because it doesn’t pretend that life is easy and that everything can be fixed. None of the characters is perfect, they all make mistakes and they all feel awkward at times. In this respect, it is very authentic and convincing. I think it is great for teenagers who struggle with fitting in since the main message for me was that we all at times feel like outsiders and it is absolutely ok, not to fit in and to feel sad at times.

Christina Dalcher – Vox

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Christina Dalcher – Vox

Woman – the root of all evil. Therefore, under the new POTUS, women are confined to the house, forbidden to work, thy only have to care for their husbands and children, and most importantly, they aren’t allowed to speak more than one hundred words a day. “Bracelet” is what they call the device which counts their words and sends electronic shocks in case they exceed the set number. Dr. Jean McClelland, once a successful and renowned scientist, sees her life limited in a major way and she regrets all the marches she hasn’t taken part in, the petitions she hasn’t signed and the signs she has misinterpreted. When the president’s brother has an almost fatal accident, the most capable doctor is needed, thus Jean unexpectedly comes into the position of possibly setting conditions and finding a way out of her once beloved home country.

In many respects, this dystopia is highly disturbing. Not just because of what is narrated and imagining what happens there, but because you can easily reckon how such a situation might become a reality. Even though we believe to live in a world where men and women are equal and where women have gained their place in work and society, a group of men feeling deprived of their rights of superiority and therefore doing everything to turn back the time, is simple to picture.

I had heard a lot about Christina Dalcher’s novel and quite often, if too many people praise a book I become increasingly reluctant of agreeing. Yet, in this case, I totally consent to the majority of readers. The plot is very well developed, the characters seem absolutely authentic to me and the author’s style of writing is captivating. I especially appreciated how Jean’s eldest son is brainwashed, not for the fact itself, but as a convincing illustration of how easily people can fall prey to false prophets and walk right in the trap. Dalcher gets to the core with her protagonist, she has to make decisions that nobody wants to make and each reader has to answer for him- or herself which side they would be on and, first and foremost, what they do in reality to prevent such developments from happening.

Ottessa Moshfegh – My Year of Rest and Relaxation

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Ottessa Moshfegh – My Year of Rest and Relaxation

Looking at her from the outside, she has everything one could wish for: she is blond, pretty, thin, a Columbia graduate, stylish without effort and she has a job at a gallery. Due to her inheritance, she can afford an apartment on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. But that’s just one side of the medal, her relationship with Trevor has been all but healthy, her parents never showed any affection and thus losing them both when she was in college was a minor affair. What she is lacking is an aim in life, something that gives her a reason for being alive. She feels exhausted and just wants to sleep until everything is over. She slowly extends her time in bed, she even falls asleep at work and then, finally, she decides to hibernate. A crazy therapist provides her with medication that allows more and more hours of sleep at a time. She hopes that after a year of rest, she will awake as somebody new.

Ottessa Moshfegh is a US-American writer who earned a degree in Creative Writing from Brown University and whose short stories were received with positive reviews. After her novella “McGLue”, her first novel “Eileen” was published in 2015 and made it on the shortlist for the 2016 Man Booker Prize. Having chosen a mostly unsympathetic protagonist for her former novel, I found it much easier so sympathise with her narrator in “My Year of Rest and Relaxation”.

The young woman who is portrayed is quite typical in a certain way. She is the modern New Yorker who takes part in the glittery art circus, is a part of a subculture of believes itself to be highly reflective and innovative. At a certain point, the superficiality becomes exhausting and the aimless tittle-tattle and prattle don’t provide any deeper insight.

“The art at Ducat was supposed to be subversive irreverent, shocking, but was all just canned counterculture crap, “punk, but with money”.

Also her relationship does not go beyond superficial sex and one-night-stands that lead to nothing. Added to this is the easy availability of all kinds of drugs, of therapists who themselves are too crazy to detect any serious illness in their clients and therefore just fill in any prescription they are asked for. Even though the plot starts in 2000, the characters are quite typical for the 1990s and they need a major event to wake them up and bring them back to real life.

The narrator tries to flee the world and takes more and more pills mixed with each other, as a result she is sleepwalking, even gets a new haircuts and orders masses of lingerie without knowing. Her radius is limited to her blog, her only human contacts are the Egyptians at the bodega at the corner where she buys coffee, the doorman of her apartment house and Reva, her best friend who still cares about her. Even though she is bothered by the things she does when she is not awake, she has become that addicted that she cannot let go anymore.

Even though the protagonist is highly depressive and seeing how badly she copes with her life is hard to endure in a way, the novel is also hilarious. I especially liked her meetings with her therapist since Dr. Tuttle is riotous in her eccentric ways and their dialogues are highly comical – despite the earnestness of their actual topics. Ottessa Moshfegh most certainly earns a place among to most relevant authors of today.

Nico Walker – Cherry

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Nico Walker – Cherry 

2003, Cleveland. He has just arrived at uni when he meets Emily and falls for her immediately. They love each other passionately, just as they love Ecstasy. When Emily moves back home to Elba and splits up, he loses control and is expelled from college soon after. The army promises an interesting future – or better: a future at all. As a medic he is briefly trained before they send him to Iraq. A year in the Middle East, a year in the war. What he sees is unimaginable and to avoid the pictures in his head and to deal with the everyday loss of comrades, he needs more and more pills. When he returns, he cannot find a way back in life. With Emily, he’s got an on-and-off relationship which is mainly marked by their common use of heroin. A normal life seems possible, but the constant need of money for more drugs and the fact of passing out frequently hinders them from actually having it.

“Cherry” is the story of an average young man whose life spirals down into the abyss. It’s not the one big event that throws him off course, it’s a bit here and there, a relationship that breaks up, not getting enough credits at college, simply losing the aim in life. Of course, the experiences made in the war are a major event and it is hard to imagine that anybody can live through this without serious psychological disturbances or PTSD. The novel brings out the worst that drugs can do to somebody and it underlines how long this can go on without people around noticing anything, how long they can keep up appearances before wreaking havoc.

Yet, it is not only the topic, the narrator’s life that is shown bluntly by Nico Walker. What he does masterly, too, is to adapt the language to the situation:

The car bomb did what car bombs do and four were dead in the market. It would have been more but the sheep took most of the blast. So you had flesh and blood and wool on the pavement. You had bloodstains on the pavement, little lakes of blood.

There is no reason to embellish anything, it’s just the blunt reality that Walker describes in the most brutal and direct way. Most of the soldiers were “Cherries” which gives the novel its title: soldiers who have never been in a fight and whose behaviour is unpredictable and therefore a danger to the whole platoon. They were ill prepared in every possible way, but the worst is that they were ill prepared to return to a life in the civilian society. Walker doesn’t beat about the bush, his novel accuses their treatment, as well as the way drug addicts are taken care of, or rather: not taken care of. He shows a reality that nobody wants to see but which exists among us. The style of writing might not be for everybody, but it is perfect for this novel.

Anna Quindlen – Alternate Side

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Anna Quindlen – Alternate Side

They have the life many people dream of: Nora and Charlie Nolan live in New York city in a quiet dead-end street, their twins Rachel and Oliver have become charming and successful students and both Nora and Charlie are good at their respective jobs. In their street, they have made friends with the neighbours during annual barbecues and the like and from the outside, there is not much you could wish for. However, underneath the surface, the idyllic street has its fights, like very neighbourhood, there is the controlling neighbour whom nobody ever openly contradicts, there are rumours and the nannies also exchange the secrets and share them with their employers. Nora and Charlie have always worked well as a couple, but after almost 25 years, there is a kind of exhaustion, they do not share the same ideas of life anymore and after a major incident in their street which makes them take different sides, they too, have to confront the question if they want to and can go on like this.

Anna Quindlen has an eye for the detail. Even though her story is set in big New York City, the plot is centred around a small community that could be found almost everywhere. It is the clash between the look from the outside and the real picture that makes the novel most striking, the almost invisible fractures, the divergent views which become only detectable when something big happens.

“Alternate Sides” is the perfect summer read, on the one hand, it is a light novel, not too complicated or philosophical, but taken from life and straight-forward in the development of the plot. On the other hand, you have a sympathetic protagonist whom you can easily identify with. You follow Nora and she is immediately likeable, even though she’s got quite an exclusive job, she is like to woman from next door, ignorant of classes and anxious to raise her kids to become good people. Neither does she immediately explode when she feels provoked by her husband, nor does she take in everything without disagreeing.

Since everybody knows how well-off neighbourhoods work, you can smirk at how the inhabitants of this street react, much too predictable, but that’s just how humans work. At times, they are hilarious – Charlie’s joy when he gets a parking spot in the street! – at times, they remind you of the people from you real life that you despise. Even though there are many serious issues underneath the surface of the novel, it is a joyful and entertaining read.

Matthew Weiner – Alles über Heather

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Matthew Weiner – Alles über Heather

Mark Breakstone ist eher unscheinbar, aber seine analytischen Fähigkeiten werden ihm irgendwann ein großes Einkommen bescheren – wenn er ansonsten schon für seine Eltern eine Enttäuschung war, da er so gar nicht ihren Wünschen entsprach. Karen hat immer von einer Karriere im Literaturbetrieb geträumt, hängt jetzt aber im PR fest und als Freunde ihr ein Date mit Mark vermitteln, erwartet sie nicht viel. Doch die beiden sind pragmatisch und eine Vereinigung erscheint sinnvoll. Heather ist das Ergebnis ihrer Liebe und das Kind ist in jeder Hinsicht perfekt: hübsch und charismatisch wickelt sie vom ersten Tag an alle um den Finger, dazu ist sie einfühlsam und aufmerksam, will niemanden verletzten. Mit Marks Karriere geht es voran, wenn auch nicht ganz so glanzvoll wie gewünscht, aber allein das Dasein Heathers und die Wohnung im teuersten Postleitzahlenbezirk von New York sind schon repräsentativ genug. Doch es droht Unheil in Form von Bobby Klasky, Sohn einer Drogensüchtigen und Ex-Knacki, der als Bauarbeiter in das vornehme Haus der Breakstones kommt und dem die Teenager-Tochter auch direkt ins Auge fällt.

Matthew Weiner hat sich als Schöpfer der Serie „Mad Men“ bereits einen Namen gemacht, bevor er mit „Alles über Heather“ nun seinen ersten Roman verfasste. Die Erwartungen waren naturgemäß hoch, für mein Empfinden konnte Weiner sie erfüllen und mit Ulrich Matthes als Vorleser konnte ohnehin nur wenig schiefgehen.

Der Autor lässt zwei Geschichten des gegenwärtigen Amerika parallel verlaufen, die unterschiedlicher kaum sein könnten und dennoch im selben Land geschehen: einerseits der Mikrokosmus der New Yorker Upper Class mit ihren eigenen Regeln und dem aufrechtzuerhaltenden schönen Schein nach außen, während hinter der Fassade langsam alles zu bröckeln beginnt. Die erfolgreiche und hübsche Tochter, die als Projektionsfläche der elterlichen Träume und Wünsche fungieren muss und in der gleichzeitig auch deren größten Ängste zentriert sind. Dagegen die drogenabhängige Mutter Bobbys, die nicht einmal weiß, wer der Vater ihres Sohnes ist, da einfach zu viele in Frage kommen, die weder das Potenzial des Kindes erkennt, noch die geringste Anstrengung auf ein geregeltes Leben unternimmt. So kommt es wie es kommen muss, Bobby gerät auf die schiefe Bahn und einmal im wahrsten Sinne des Wortes Blut geleckt, kann er seine Triebe nur schwer kontrollieren. Es ist abzusehen, dass sich die Wege kreuzen müssen und eine Katastrophe sich anbahnt.

Der Roman scheint ein eindeutiges Schwarz und Weiß zu kennen, doch so einfach ist es nicht. Bobbys Familiengeschichte erklärt seine Entwicklung, man kann Mitleid mit ihm haben, zum Teil sogar bewundern, dass er nicht schon viel früher in Schlimmeres verwickelt war und sich doch immer wieder selbst auf den richtigen Weg gebracht hat. Er ist ein Soziopath, ohne Frage, aber vielschichtiger als zunächst vermutet. Auch die Breakstones sind keineswegs so oberflächlich und eindimensional, wie dies der Schein vermuten ließe. Was alle gemeinsam haben, ist eine tiefe Enttäuschung vom Leben, wirklich glücklich ist niemand, weder am oberen noch am unteren Ende der Gesellschaft.

Der Roman ist Abbild und Analyse der USA unter Trump. Der Rückzug ins Private, die Konzentration auf das unmittelbare Lebensumfeld und das Ausblenden der Wirklichkeit darüber hinaus. Doch dieser Kokon hat eine fragile Außenschicht, was ihn verletzlich und zerbrechlich macht und schutzlos der bösen Außenwelt ausliefert.

Tommy Orange – There There

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Tommy Orange – There There

It is all but easy to summarise Tommy Orange’s novel. There is Dene Oxendene, a young film maker who applies for a grant to realise a dream he and his deceased uncle had: give Native Americans a voice, make them tell their stories to ensure that they are not lost. There are Opal and her sister Jacquie, first as teenagers, later as grand-parents, struggling in a world which is not made for them. Edwin who is looking for his father and thinks he just found him on the Internet whereas his colleague Blue still doesn’t know who her biological parents are. Orvil and his two younger brothers who prepare secretly for a dance. And a group of young boys who prepare a ferocious and malicious attack on the place where most of the characters will gather: the powwow.

Tommy Orange introduces his novel with a prologue which outlines the Indian history. It starts with the first encounter with the coloniser and continues as a series of loss and suppression and ends in a group of people who have lost not only their land, but also their culture, identity and pride. The author himself is of Cheyenne and Arapaho decent, so he knows what he is writing about and he thus gives the Natives an authentic voice. Yes, it is an inconvenient truth he tells, but a truth worth reading and thinking about.

The title already is quite confusing, but Orange makes one of his characters give an explanation quoting Gertrude Stein who

(…) was talking about how the place where she’d grown up in Oakland had changed so much, that so much development had happened there, that the there of her childhood, the there there, was gone, there was no there there anymore (…) The quote is important to Dene. This there there. (…) for Native people in this country, all over the Americas, it’s been developed over, buried ancestral land, glass and concrete and wire and steel, unreturnable covered memory. There is no there there.

The Natives have lost much more than their land. And up to today they have been treated differently. A lot of things that happen to the characters in the novel – getting pregnant at a very young age, being addicted to alcohol etc. – also happen to people from other ethnic backgrounds, however, they then are considered the odd uncle or the eccentric aunt and the like. Looking at the Native community, those things are regarded as the normal case, it is not something that anybody would wonder about. They always live at the fringe of society, even if they complete school and get a degree, they will have to perform much better than a white competitor to get a job.

The most striking aspect of the novel for me was the trouble that all the characters experience. On the one hand, they are forced to hide their culture and traditions because they do not belong to the mainstream culture, on the other hand, this leads to a certain loss which is felt but difficult to express. They sense that they are missing something, that they need explanations which nobody will give them. Their identity is never really complete which consequently ends in serious disturbances.

Tommy Orange is a remarkable writer who gives his fellow Natives an important voice that absolutely should be heard. Certainly, he doesn’t shrink from accusing what the colonisers and the white ruling classes have done to the indigenous population, however, he provides insight in what this actually meant and thus opens ways for a hopefully better future. This will not be an easy way, but one that has to be walked together.

Jardine Libaire – Uns gehört die Nacht

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Jardine Libaire – Uns gehört die Nacht

Elise richtet das Gewehr auf Jamey. Sie sind in einem Motelzimmer in Wyoming, es ist Juni 1987 und sie wird auf ihren Freund zielen. Wie konnte es dazu kommen? Rückblende, eineinhalb Jahre zuvor lernen sie sich kennen, sie sind Nachbarn in New Haven, könnten aber kaum verschiedener sein. Jamey Hyde ist der Spross einer Privatbanken Familie, der in Yale studiert und sein Leben lang nur in der Welt der Superreichen verkehrte. Elise Perez kennt ihren Vater nicht und wuchs mit der Mutter und den jüngeren Geschwistern in Bridgeport zwischen Drogenabhängigen und Kleinkriminellen auf, hat keinen Schulabschluss und auch keinerlei beruflichen Ambitionen. Der Student ist fasziniert und abgestoßen zugleich von diesem etwas asozialen Unterschichtenmädchen. Was als bedingungsloser Sex beginnt, wandelt sich zunehmend und wird zur regelrechten Obsession. Elise ist nicht die Frau an seiner Seite, kann sie nicht sein, sie ist nicht standesgemäß. Aber er kommt auch nicht mehr von ihr los. Er versteckt sie vor seiner Familie, doch es kommt der Tag, wo er sich entscheiden muss: Elise mit allem, was sie ausmacht, oder seine Familie mit all ihrem Geld und Ansehen.

Jardine Libaires Roman beginnt mit einem Schreckmoment, wie können die Protagonisten kurz davor stehen, sich gegenseitig umzubringen? Doch nach nur wenigen Zeilen wird diese Frage durch jene, wie es so weit kommen konnte abgelöst. „Uns gehört die Nacht“ ist der sechste Roman der texanischen Autorin, der im englischsprachigen Raum als einer der Highlights des Sommers 2017 gilt.

„Uns gehört die Nacht“ erzählt eine klassische amour fou zwischen zwei sehr verschiedenen Charakteren. Hierin liegt auch die größte Stärke des Romans, die Figurenzeichnung ist überzeugend und wirkt authentisch. Elise wie auch Jamey sind in ihrer Welt verhaftet und haben zunächst kaum Zugang zu der des anderen. Sie verstehen Werte und Verhaltensweisen des anderen nicht und wenn der Zufall sie nicht in benachbarte Häuser geführt hätte, wären sie sich auch nie begegnet. Beide haben sie Schwierigkeiten, sich in der Welt des anderen zurechtzufinden, weshalb sie auch keine reibungsfreie Beziehung führen.

Jamey ist immer wieder verunsichert durch Elises Impulsivität und kämpft mit widersprüchlichen Empfindungen: er weiß, dass sie nicht die Partnerin ist, die seine Familie von ihm erwartet und die das gewünschte Bild der New England Upper Class aufrechterhalten kann. Und was werden die Freunde dazu sagen? Aber er liebt sie, doch reicht das aus, um sich gegen die Familie und alle Überzeugungen zu stellen? Elise wirkt nach außen stark in ihrer bisweilen aggressiven Art, doch diese überspielt nur ihre Unsicherheit. In ihrem Revier weiß sie sich zu bewegen, aber in New York und vor allem in Jameys Welt fühlt sie sich fremd und unbehaglich, sie kann sich nicht anpassen und wird nie dazugehören. Schnell ist ihr das bewusst und sie rechnet tagtäglich damit, dass Jamey die Lust an ihr verliert und sie rauswirft. Was er mit seinem Geld kaufen kann, kann sie durch ihren lebenserfahrenen Pragmatismus ergänzen und zusammen ergänzen sie sich und werden ein ungewöhnliches Paar.

Man folgt den beiden Figuren auf ihren Weg und ist fasziniert von ihren Emotionen, die ganz wesentlich ihr Verhalten leiten. Dass diese Liebe nicht gutgehen kann, scheint von der ersten Begegnung an klar. Mit der Ausgangsszene im Hinterkopf wartet man auf den Bruch, den tragischen Moment, der alles verändert. Doch die Autorin hat einige Überraschungen in petto, so dass man seine Annahmen revidieren muss. Diese unerwarteten Wendungen sind nicht nur wohldosiert, sondern auch glaubwürdig motiviert und bieten immer wieder Raum für völlig neue Entwicklungen. Ein rundum fesselnder Roman, intensiv und mitreißend.

Ein herzlicher Dank geht an den Diogenes Verlag für das Rezensionsexemplar. Mehr Informationen zum Roman und der Autorin finden sich auf der Verlagsseite.