About Beat Mazenauer
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Name: Beat Mazenauer
[ book tip by Beat Mazenauer ] Janik’s parents are very good people: decent and fair in their actions. So it goes without saying that Janik’s friend Samuel can sleep over or even live at their house. Samuel doesn’t know his father, and his mother is an alky. Her son and his friend supply her with the bare minimum of what she needs. Over the years, the two young men have become brothers of sorts. Sometimes it almost seems as if Janik’s parents love Samuel, who is a very compliant person, more than their own son, who tends to rebel from time to time. Though things are not that simple. Janik and Samuel make a game out of testing the parents by dramatically staging case studies from one of the parents’ pedagogical self-help books. They do this all through their school years, and in their free time they hang out with the alky friends of Samuel’s mother or play around in the family’s allotment, which they’ve named 'Stanbul'. After they pass their final exams, their audacity knows no limits. They immediately take off for Istanbul – Samuel wants to open some kind of business as well as find his unknown father. He is convinced that his father is (or was) Turkish.
Finn-Ole Heinrich describes this friendship with skilful self-possession and without lapsing into teen slang any more than is necessary. Structurally, the story unfolds on several interlocking time levels. Weeks in Istanbul alternate with snippets of memories that carefully merge to give an overall picture that has a volatile core. Narrator Janik’s immature revolt conflicts with Samuel’s meek dutifulness. But as the book progresses, appearances prove deceptive. In Istanbul, Janik ends up longing for his orderly bourgeois life back home, while Samuel wants to venture at all costs in a new direction. Finn-Ole Heinrich subtly connects the interlacing developmental threads. By doing so, he creates a tension that keeps mounting until the end. It is heightened by short introductions to the chapters that the reader can only gradually place and relate to situations; yet at the end, they break away from the narrative sweep again. Räuberhände is a fine and confident book about the process of coming of age. It gives a traditional literary topos many new extraordinary facets.
[ Favourite quote ] “What alternative does a person who is always doing good leave for those around him, besides failure? What sort of attitude involves being good and right all the time?” (p. 150)
[ book info ] Heinrich, Finn-Ole: Räuberhände.
(Book language: Deutsch)
Lecture (Video, in german)
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