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review 2018-02-04 16:59
Parallelwelten / Parallel Worlds
Schilf: Roman - Juli Zeh
Dark Matter - Juli Zeh

Intelligent und frech: Das Buch wird als "Physikerkrimi" vermarktet, aber das trifft es meines Erachtens nicht wirklich; tatsächlich ist dies die alte Geschichte von Faust und Mephisto im Gewand zweier Freunde, die sich als Physikstudenten kennengelernt haben und später im Leben verschiedene Wege gegangen sind, sowohl persönlich als auch fachlich -- wobei Mephisto den Faust nicht nur menschlich beherrschen, sondern gleichzeitig auch fachlich überflügeln will. Dies alles ist eigentlich bereits auf den ersten Seiten ziemlich eindeutig angelegt, so dass mich nicht jede "Zwischenentwicklung" des Buches überraschte; aber das sollte sie wohl auch nicht unbedingt (ohnehin wäre es zu kurz gesprungen, Krimi hier als "whodunnit" zu verstehen). Auch der dem Buch unterliegende strafrechtliche Ansatz mag zwar in der Theorie stimmen, hätte aber in der harten Justizwirklichkeit wohl sehr anders ausgesehen (da merkt man dann doch, dass Frau Zeh zwar Jura studiert, aber niemals praktiziert hat, und dass ihr Schwerpunkt das Völkerrecht und nicht das Strafrecht ist) -- ohnehin fand ich die beiden Physiker und ihren Streit um die Existenz und Nachweisbarkeit von Parallelwelten interessanter als den Kommissar, der dem Buch seinen Namen gegeben hat, sowie seine nur begrenzt sympathische Kollegin. Das Ende der Geschichte ist allerdings in seiner Boshaftigkeit ein sehr gezielter Tritt in die Magengrube ... und nicht nur diejenige der Charaktere.

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

Witty and irreverent: This book is marketed as a "physician crime novel", but that, in my opinion, is slightly off the mark -- actually, this is the age-old tale of Dr. Faustus and Mephistotopheles, dressed up as the story of two friends who first met in university, studying physics, but later chose different paths both in their lives and their careers; with Mephistopheles seeking not only to dominate Faustus as a human being but also to one-up him professionally.  All of this is fairly obvious pretty much right from the book's very first pages, as a result of which not everyone of the story's twists came as a real surprise to me; but I'm not sure this was even intended (and anyway, to read this book as a "whodunnit" would be seriously short-changing it).  The specific concept of criminal law underlying this story may have been rendered faithfully as it stands in theory, but its actual application in the harsh real-life practice of criminal justice would have looked decidedly differently (this is where you can tell that although Ms. Zeh hold a law degree she never actually practiced, and her focus in university was on public international law rather than on criminal law) -- and anyway, I found myself caring much more for the two physicists and their dispute over the existence and verifiability of parallel worlds than for the police inspector whose name is also that of this book's German title ("Schilf") and for his only marginally likeable female colleague.  The ending, however, is one well-aimed mean punch in the gut ... and not only that of the characters, either.

 

Status update: 96 of 384 pages.

 

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text 2018-01-18 13:04
Reading progress update: I've read 96 out of 384 pages.
Schilf: Roman - Juli Zeh

 

Sebastian = Faust

 

Oskar = Mephisto, der Faust zugleich verführt und bei der Suche nach der absoluten Wahrheit überflügeln will -- er braucht jemand, den er besiegen kann.

 

Dass das Krankenhaus hinter der Entführung von Liam stecken soll, glaube ich keine Sekunde.  Das geht auf das Konto des Obermanipulators Oskar.  Geh zur Polizei, Sebastian.

 

Die Physik ist window dressing.  In Wirklichkeit geht es um ein schnödes Machtspiel.

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review 2017-01-10 12:59
The Twelve Tasks of the Festive Season -- Bonus Entry
Der Weltensammler - Ilija Trojanow
Collector of Worlds, the - Ilija Trojanow

I blacked out my card on Dec. 19 using the "activity" entry for the Kwanzaa square, but since thereafter I did read a book set (partially) in Africa, too, here's my "bonus entry" post ... sorry for reporting in belatedly; blame it on BookLikes posting issues and a surfeit of things going on all at the same time in my life at present. :(

 

Not that it still seems to matter greatly to begin with, alas ... (sigh).

 

Der Weltensammler (The Collector of Worlds) is a novelized biography of 19th century polymath and explorer Sir Richard Francis Burton, who traveled widely in India, the Middle East and Africa, visiting Mecca (disguised as an Arab) and seeking -- partially successfully, though he didn't know it -- the source of the Nile (he did make it to Lake Victoria, but failed to confirm that the Nile actually does originate from there).  He is best remembered today for his translation of The 1001 Nights.

 

Interesting, though quite obviously largely fictitious insights into a fascinating life, and a voyage back through time to the Orient, Africa, and British Empire of the 19th century.

 

Snow Globes: Reads
Bells: Activities

Merken

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url 2016-12-15 12:16
BookRiot: Happy 200th Birthday, The Nutcracker!
The Nutcracker - E.T.A. Hoffmann,Maurice Sendak,Ralph Manheim

At this time each year, thousands of little Claras across the world pull their Victorian nightgowns over their heads, lace up their toe shoes, and prepare to take their place on stage in one of the most coveted roles for an aspiring ballet dancer. But the history of Tchaikovsky’s beloved ballet goes beyond twirling Sugar Plum Fairies and pirouetting Rat Kings.

The character we’ve come to know as Clara originally appeared in a story written by E.T.A. Hoffman in 1816, by the name Marie Stahlbaum. At a holiday party thirty-odd years later, the legendary Alexandre Dumas told his own version of Marie’s surreal fever dream at a party after being tied to a chair by some of his daughter’s friends who demanded they be told a story. The resulting version of Hoffman’s fairy tale was less dark and more suited to a young audience. That was the version that Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky adapted nearly 50 years later for a performance at the Russian Imperial Theatre.

The original performance sold out on opening night (December 18, 1892) and a holiday season has not since passed without a curtain rising on a gorgeous Christmas tree, in the midst of being decorated by the Stahlbaum family and their friends.

 

Happy 200th Birthday, The Nutcracker!:

Merken

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review 2014-04-22 00:44
Visionär und Architekt
Erinnerungen (Spiegel-Edition, #15) - Willy Brandt
My Life in Politics - Willy Brandt

 

Note to the English Speakers out there: I've read the book in German, and not least because of its author and its topic it seemed logical to me for once to write a review in both German and English, and to put the German version first. You'll find the English version of this review if you scroll to the bottom of the German text and the two photos. Also, all quotes rendered in English are my own translations – they may not be identical with the translations of the same quotes in the English edition of Brandt's memoirs, which is entitled My Life in Politics. (Lastly, apologies for the length of this review: This is, however, the sort of book that merits some in-depth consideration if you're going to tackle it at all.)

 


 

Als fast auf den Tag genau vor 40 Jahren Beamte des deutschen Verfassungsschutzes an der Tür einer Wohnung im gehobenen Bonner Stadtteil Bad Godesberg klingelten und sich, nachdem ihnen der Wohnungsinhaber geöffnet hatte, in ihrer dienstlichen Eigenschaft auswiesen, entgegnete ihnen der vor ihnen Stehende: "Ich bin Bürger der DDR und ihr Offizier. Respektieren Sie das!" Der Mann hieß Günter Guillaume und war einer der politischen Referenten des damaligen Kanzlers Willy Brandt; mit seinen Namen verbindet sich bis heute der vor- und unzeitige Rücktritt eines der führenden deutschen Politiker der zweiten Hälfte des zwanzigsten Jahrhunderts.

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