In the highly anticipated “Literary Quartet” (May 26), literary critic and writer Thea Dorn discusses new literary releases with her guests. This time around the novels “Lamento” by Madame Nielsen, “We Went Out and Played Football” by Andreas Bernard, “A Minor Matter” by Adania Shebli and “Slip of the Clocks” by Uwe Telkamp. Guests are: Eva Menasse, Moritz von Uslar, and Jakob Augstein.
Madame Nielsen: “Lamento”
At the theatrical premiere of her play, a young writer meets a playwright of the same age. It is love at first sight and from now on the two of them spend every minute together, the outside world no longer plays a role for them, their connection is very close. Soon they get married and have a child, which is supposed to be the fulfillment of all their desires in life. But slowly, the eroding everyday life creeps into the relationship and takes its toll: little by little passion fades, and the initial fire of love turns into a devastating struggle. Both pushed through their different interests relentlessly against each other and the great love exploded at once. What are the centrifugal forces destructive of a formerly wonderful love affair that seems to have nothing to fear? How does infatuation become love? Why does love turn into hate?
Andreas Bernard: “We went out and played football”
A childhood story set in Munich in the 70’s and 80’s, where it’s all about royal football. The round leather thing that should go into the corner is the book’s true protagonist, handled with passion and expertise: from the perfect nature of goal nets to the weekly kicker table, and from the meaning of jersey numbers to language on the field. It is the unwritten laws, unconditional rituals, victories and defeats big and small, friendships on the football field that bring to life two decades of West German history from a very special perspective. At the same time, sports also become the starting point for thinking about how children perceive a large city, the relationship between memory and literature, and the processes of writing autobiography.
Adania Shibli: “Secondary Theme”
In the summer of 1949, a Palestinian Bedouin girl was assaulted and shot by Israeli soldiers in the Negev desert. Decades later, a young woman from Ramallah, in the West Bank, is trying to learn more about the incident. She is fascinated by crime, almost obsessed with it, especially since the rape and murder of the Bedouin young woman occurred exactly 25 years after the day after the birth of the narrator in the novel. The seemingly insignificant detail becomes the central point at which she connects her life with that of the young girl. The novel – based on a true story – weaves the two women’s stories into a painful meditation on war and violence and raises the question of justice in storytelling.
Uwe Telkamp “Sleeping in the Hours”
In August 2015, Fabian Hoffmann dated the ‘One Thousand and One Nights Department’ service for the fictional country of Tryva. In the labyrinths of this subterranean world, the Security Sub-Division hatches secret plans and begins activities that once included the reunification of two divided nations. Fabian embarks on a journey that takes him deep into rustic society and utopia. The former dissident analyzes the principles of the exercise of power and the interdependence of politics, the state apparatus, and the media and notes changes in daily life. In his search for order and meaning, Fabian fights against the mills of energy, the falsification of reality, and the loss of all security. Sleep in the Clocks is the highly anticipated sequel to the author’s award-winning, controversial novel The Tower (2008).