Will the rust belt ever recover?

Lincoln in the bardo

Süddeutsche Zeitung | Discussion from 07/28/2018Big heat,
cool heads
Vacation without reading is like a
Sea without salt, like a lake without water.
The SZ editorial team recommends
Books for the beach, mountain and balcony:
by Elizabeth Jane Howard via
Hannah Arendt to Samanta Schweblin
Anchovy paste
against hangovers
It is well known that the great political intellectual of the 20th century was also an unusually communicative and humanly interested woman. The letters that Arendt exchanged with women like Anne Weil, Hilde Fränkel or Charlotte Beradt are fascinating to read. Almost all of these women were damaged or impaired in some way by National Socialism. It's about complicated men and excess painkillers, about anti-Semitism in post-war Germany and “anchovy paste against hangovers”, it's often about books, sometimes about clothes and of course about other people. Above all, it's always about joy and love for one another. All forms of play, tensions and specialties of friendship are gathered here. And Arendt blossoms through the eyes of the women who are inclined to her as a spiritual and soulful exception.
illustration: Peter M. Hoffmann
Picnic at the
Home front
England in the summer of 1937. The wealthy, extended Cazalet family spends their holidays at their country estate in Sussex. But what sounds like idyllic upper-class pleasure for most Cazalets only means a gentle distraction from mediocre happy marriages, the growing pains of puberty and protracted trauma from the First World War - while the second is just around the corner on the continent. Sure, the suspicion of reading books is close to Elizabeth Jane Howard's five-part family saga. But her highly elegant and lively written books are much more than that. They are about the war, but not about the one at the front, but about its effects on those who stayed at home and about the tough emancipation process of the almost hyperrealistic Cazalet women. The new translation of the first volume is a very good opportunity to rediscover Elizabeth Jane Howard.
Too much in the
Bathed in oil sludge
Before Essad Bey emigrated to Berlin at the age of only 16 while fleeing the Bolsheviks and converted to Islam there, his name was Lew
Nussimbaum and spent a
exceptionally happy childhood
in Baku, Azerbaijan. Among other things, this had to do with the fact that he was the son of one of the largest oil cartridges in the region and lived in a fabulous palace, under the supervision of heavily armed gangs, which the father paid for his belongings against looters, the police and the police to defend heavily armed gangs of other oil cartridges. His autobiographical report “Oil and Blood in the Orient”, which he wrote in Berlin and published in 1929, is both a coming-of-age novel by a young oligarch and an eyewitness report from the delivery room of the oil age. You can hardly get any closer to this industry than here. The manners, however, are rough, the dealings with one another, well, result-oriented: Nussimbaum's father, for example, prefers to employ workers from the Orient, because they don't complain when they have to sleep tightly together in barrack-like crates on the floor and they don't have any other To give countermeasures. Also, that's handy too, you've never heard of soap. If you offer them instead to simply wash themselves with the oil sludge that can be found everywhere here and trust in its healing properties, that saves a lot of effort. The Russians, on the other hand, are incessantly launching strikes, demanding better pay, better accommodation and, above all, soap. Of all ethnic groups, the Russians are therefore by far the least popular in the Baku oil fields. Things are not significantly different on the construction sites in Qatar today. Essad Bey was of course aware that he was looking at a bourgeois audience in Berlin that, because the Wild West was hardly a narrative space, bridged the gap with premodern stories from the wild Caucasus. Bey has a few of them on hand: his parents, for example, got to know each other because police officers had just arrested a young socialist with whom his father fell in love as he drove past, which is why he instructed his guards to ambush the prisoner transport, to buy the beautiful socialist out and in to bring his palace. The attraction of these anecdotes is firstly that both the self-importance of the oligarchy and the differences between rich and poor are almost as great as today, with all the consequences. Second, that they are so incredibly funny.
Square checkered
“How I hate you! Can't you leave anyone alone?
Do you have to force everyone to be like this
as you want it? At least leave poor Jasper alone!
You are square-checked philistines ”.
The family uprising rages like Christine Nöstlinger does it again and again
staged in their books. Here,
in the holiday story “Das
Exchange child ”, it is the English guest boy who takes care of the order and
Parents' upbringing mania with an unshakable one
Phlegm. Thick, unwashed, blessed with strange spleens,
he refuses all communication and educational methods until the father brutally intervenes and the
Children of the family, the fifteen-year-old already very rebellious Billie and the fearful thirteen-year-old Ewald, side with Jasper. Pure slapstick now defines the family theater, in which Christine Nöstlinger gives both sides every opportunity to get into
to let off steam in the cool dialogues.
In order to show in the end that parents can also be loving people,
the one here now, completely transformed
Support the most insane actions to help your exchange child out of his desperation.
Against the fear of too long vacations
There is something scary about holidays. All the things, habits and conversations are suddenly suspended that reliably recur in everyday life, that otherwise always work and structure our important, system-relevant activities. Suddenly we should be completely ourselves, completely human. And it's unbearably hot at the same time. The consciousness melts together and with a smoldering feeling of panic comes the question: Who should that be, "Myself", completely without the everyday stuff?
This special feeling of insecurity, an existential horror vacui, finds its ideal counterpart in the stories of Samanta Schweblin, a Buenos Aires-born writer who lives in Berlin. Your new book “Seven Empty Houses” consists of seven short stories in which all certainties are full of holes. Understanding between people, even those who are close, and all the painstakingly maintained common sense of normal dealings with one another smears into the insane.
For example, a girl drives with her mother through a pretty residential area to “look at houses”. But it doesn't stop there, because the mother is brutally intrusive and gains access to the apartments and the life of complete strangers. The first-person narrator then finds her in terribly embarrassing situations: “She is lying on her stomach on the carpet, in the middle of the parents' bedroom. Her arms and legs are outstretched, and I wonder briefly if there are any other ways to hug things as disproportionately large as a house, if that's what my mother is trying to do. ”It looks like she's trying Woman correcting a mysterious injustice in the midst of other people's possessions. The reader does not find out what it consists of, but rather sees how skilfully the narrator adapts to the mother's madness. How children have to cope with everything their parents do.
If one is prepared to accept this contradiction, there is the disturbing and calming effect of Schweblin's stories at the same time: We experience that, beyond the effective pragmatism of our everyday life, one can also live quite well with irrationality. There is a very attractive moment of loss of control. Once you have managed to get involved, a very special form of relaxation occurs.
From stoicism
of the waves
“Barbarentage” is the perfect read for any vacation location: an adventure novel, the story of an endless journey, a road movie through the Pacific and the emotional state of an adolescent. But actually “Barbarentage” is a romance novel that is about the amour fou of the renowned war reporter William Finnegan about the oceans, more precisely: about the waves that arise somewhere in wild storms and break evenly, sometimes furiously after hundreds of kilometers on the coast. Finnegan was eleven years old when he fell for them. He lives in Hawaii with his parents and starts surfing in the early sixties. A sport that the whites initially drove out of the Hawaiians after colonization. Then in the last decades of the 20th century they built a whole industry around him that is still growing today. Finnegan has been there from the start. Like someone driven, he travels to the waves, to the South Seas, to Australia and to Bali. The passion for the waves has a firm grip on him, it's an unfair love. While he is ready to give up everything for them, the waves do what they always do: they surge stoically. In return, they give Finnegan an immeasurable feeling of freedom.
The stuff we do
This fits in well with the summer heat: read where the energy of the modern world came from and how it is still warming today. While the very last hard coal mines in Germany close this year and nostalgia for the Ruhr area arises again,
depends on the global energy demand
not just continue to work on the oil, but
also still 40 percent
on the coal. Crazy enough, we even import cheap coal to burn from other continents. Franz-Josef Brüggemeier has
a cultural and industrial history was written that rivaled the other great stories of globally effective substances such as tea or cotton
can accommodate. The black gold fueled the railroad, capitalism, great wars and great prosperity, especially in Germany.
A stroke of luck: a standard work,
that one reads with great tension.
The ego and
the Biedermeier
This book is the most wonderful
Rediscovery of a forgotten German Romantic poet.
The poet has the common name Ernst Schulze; born in 1789, died in 1817 at the age of only 28.
But his work is not an everyday work.
You have to be stylishly Schulze's
Do not necessarily like verses and poems that were at the time in the Goethe
Category were traded; but
the power of speech and the view of the Biedermeier period that it grants are
breathtaking. The special and
the terrible of the uplifting
Biedermeier times have never been to me
as clearly as in
this book. Nothing was more interesting than your own ego and the society in which you moved.
The people in their salons were
apparently unable to speak straight ahead. Their conversation persisted
out of pretense, stiltedness and coquetry. But in Ernst Schulze's diaries and letters, today's readers are pleased with the snappy, malicious tone
and his ironic self-image. Schulze lives.
In the intermediate realm
The President's child is dead. Willie, son of Abraham Lincoln, dies of typhoid fever when he is only eleven years old. It is February 1862, the American Civil War has been raging for almost a year, thousands of soldiers are falling in the frozen fields and the President is watching over the grave of his dead son.
George Saunders has put the historical events of these days in the White House and Oak Hill Cemetery into an unfamiliar form for his first novel. Not only because "Lincoln in the Bardo" is a ghost story, but above all because the novel is composed exclusively of quoted and invented voices. Servants tell of the night of Willie's death and soldiers of the first great battles of the war. Sometimes these reports are far apart when a golden moon lights up the night, which in the next quote is described as clouded and moonless. Next to these historical voices from letters and books stand the invented voices of a whole series of ghosts who, knowing nothing or wanting to know nothing of their own death, comment on the fate of Willie and their own. The dead in this book are caught in a kind of intermediate realm, the eponymous bardo, because like Willie or the young soldiers they died, although they still held something in life that they now revolve around in the hope of fulfillment that is too late, without to let go. For some, the view of the naked body of a young woman is enough. Surprisingly, this is often very funny in its contradictory and collage-like nature. In the nullity and vanity of the lost wishes and dreams of these ghosts, the story is at the same time very human and relaxed in dealing with death.
Saunders succeeds in creating this novel construction, which is quite daring in terms of both form and content, because the chorus of ghosts that he has the story recite is in its polyphony only the radicalization of a principle that underlies almost every novel. The dialogue, exchange and contradiction of different voices determine the genre of the novel. “Lincoln im Bardo” is such an exciting and rare book because the text emphasizes its own form, which otherwise tends to be as invisible as possible in most contemporary novels. How something is told is just as important here as what is being told. NICOLAS FRIEND
It is your city -
get them back
Oh only would this book
all the dreary local politicians read
who still think that transport policy means expanding the Middle Ring. - If this opening sigh sounds in a bad mood, then it leads
he's on the wrong track, after all
Mikael Colville-Andersen is a
such a funny head that his texts about cycling are similar
have an invigorating thrust effect like
an energy bar before the last
Curve of the Gotthard Pass. Colville-
Andersen is not a Rambo Eagle
but a gentle city gondola, not a fundamentalist, but
a very clever person who is in front of
everything shows that by expanding
the whole city of cycling
benefits. In his (so far unfortunately
published in English only)
Standard work "Copenhagenize"
the Dane makes such a well-founded and at the same time energetic plea
for cycling and reclaiming the public space that one would prefer to go to afterwards
Copenhagen would pull. In which:
Staying at home, reading the book and then trying to Copenhagenise your own snored Autostadt is perhaps even more appealing.
Dance the old one
Federal Republic
The Mambo Jambo, the aftershave,
the dance hall Monokel, the Koralle, but also the Be-Bop and even the Relexx - private detective Frankie
rattles off all. Do you pour yourself a liter of Bacardi-Cola and always ask the disc jockeys the same question:
whether she “White Heat” on July 9th by
Madonna played. The song was playing in the background
Blackmail call to a board member of the Deutsche Bundesbahn. In his investigations through West Germany, Frankie only follows his gut instinct ("I had the Stuttgart feeling") and a few affairs ("I really didn't feel like telecommunications with Jessika Schmidt"). The method is, well, moderately successful. The author Michel Decar was born in 1987 and is therefore too young to have danced in discos in the 1980s. Nonetheless, in his debut “Thousand German Discotheques” he conjures up a cozy eighties feeling. A time when people smoked Marlboro Menthol in the FRG, the GDR was a gray patch in the east and travelers went to the dining car instead of the on-board restaurant. He writes it down with brash laconism and excessive exaggeration. In the end it remains unclear
whether the fuss through a long-forgotten club landscape is not one
gigantic diversionary maneuver. And first-person narrator Frankie deeper
is in the blackmail when he was the
Wants to make readers believe.
If you a
Whirlwind loves
Anyone looking for true escapism should read César Aira. The Dadaist among contemporary writers puts his stories together from objets trouvés, from scenes from everyday life. Sitting in a café in Buenos Aires, he writes it down in a notebook with the pen and writes slowly, no more than a few sentences a day. This is one of the reasons why he likes the short form, the novella-like, unheard-of. The Argentine has published around 80 books so far, very few of them are in German.The publishing house Matthes & Seitz brings out small volumes in loose succession, which are also nice and shrill from the outside. Of the seven novels published so far in the “César Aira Library”, “The Seamstress and the Wind” is the best, because it is steepest, introduction to this narrative world. The novel can be read like a metatheory of Aira's writing. When trying to summarize the plot, one has to capitulate, so only a sketch of the initial conditions: A seamstress "without taste, but with infinite dexterity"
follows her missing son in a taxi through the infinite
Expanses of Patagonia. A whirlwind falls in love with her on the way - and the whole thing drifts into remote areas
narrative anarchy. Aira goes
writing is about freedom,
artistic and aesthetic. The
Freedom that you don't have in life, you find it in reading.
Is reconciliation
Precision work
Two friends, two families, one murder - and in these few words the tragedy of an entire country. A man is shot, Txato, a haulier, wealthy, good-natured and self-confident. He did not want to pay any more money to the Basque separatists of Eta, ignored the graffiti on the wall of his factory in a village near San Sebastian, the silent hostility of the neighbors, and finally even the open threats. Now he is lying on a rain-soaked street, one of hundreds of Eta victims, his family has to move away because the perpetrators do not forgive the victims for the hatred they provoked, and Fernando Aramburu's novel "Patria" has found that black axis around which them Action sometimes far ahead, sometimes looking back deeply. Txato's wife is called Bittori, and the crime not only destroyed her life, but also her friendship with her former mate Miren. Because Miren's son Joxe Mari is an Eta fighter, one of the toughest kind, maybe even involved in Txato's death. When, twenty years after the murder, Bittori suddenly turns up in her former village to find out who has her husband on his conscience, she meets hardly anyone as hateful as her former girlfriend. Aramburu's book is a lot, family epic for example, but also the panorama of an era in which the Spanish state was tortured, its opponents responded with bombs and people lived around this conflict as if around a sharp object. “Patria” is the masterful political portrait of a militant clique who - in this respect, the Eta resembles the nationalistic, religious or otherwise stray fanatics around the globe - at some point always take a turn into the corrupt and totalitarian. Above all, "Patria" is a woman's novel. One of the heroines, Bittori, disturbs the dull, accomplice-like stubbornness of the village with her questions, yes, her sheer existence. The second, Miren, stokes the flame of the Eta ideology even after her son, Joxe Mari, had doubts about it after decades in prison. The third, Miren's seriously ill daughter Arantxa, finally brings them together. All three are more similar in their uncompromising attitude than they would like to admit, which makes it a little more complicated. And if there is one lesson from this coolly narrated, but exuberantly figurative and pictorial-rich novel, it is that reconciliation is precision work and unfortunately not one of the tiny approximations can be skipped over. In Spain, where the Eta has since laid down its arms, the appearance of “Patria” was celebrated like a redemption. Outside of Spain, Aramburu's book is a discreet indication that Europe has a very personal, utterly homegrown history of terrorism. What it is also: A rousing, beach-worthy read in every respect.
This essay is less than a hundred small Reclam pages long, and yet the German Islamic scholar Thomas Bauer has written one of the big books at the time. “The disambiguation of the world” is a plea for ambiguity and against the ongoing destruction of diversity in nature, art, religion and politics, which is as elegantly analytical as it is courageously clear. The magic word here is ambiguity tolerance, but it's not as complicated as it sounds: Ambiguity tolerance is simply the ability to withstand ambiguity and ambiguity of all kinds, and possibly even be able to celebrate as primeval and original republican - and to deeply distrust all offers , who easily promise redemption from all contradictions that life in society brings with it. Where else than on vacation, the most beautiful antithesis, should one be more receptive to this thought?
A good marriage
Emilie Fontane knew her husband's novels. She copied the manuscripts. Who else would have found their way through the mess of corrections, additions, and notes? On June 11, 1884, she compared his works with Adolph Menzel's painting “Piazza d’Erbe in Verona”: “At first it seems like a hodgepodge and makes no impression on me as a whole. Forgive me, also in this a bit similar to your production. But the details, the precious, interesting details, I couldn't tear myself away ...; it fills me like awe before this Diligence ". One would like to know which face Theodor Fontane drew when he read this.
Only good marriages can withstand such friendly kicks in the shin. In 1850 the poet pharmacist and Emilie Rouanet-Müller-Kummer married. They stayed together, found ways to live with financial worries, his egoism, their moods, with insults and disappointments. For example, she had to endure that he gave up jobs that guaranteed a livelihood without discussing his decision with her beforehand; that he preferred a free existence "to everyday careers with their compulsion, their tightness and self-important boredom," as he wrote to a friend.
We are very familiar with the details of Fontane’s half-century marriage. In 1998 the exchange of marriage letters appeared in the "Great Brandenburg Edition". The three volumes with their 2400 pages do not fit in your luggage. Gotthard Erler selected 123 letters, 32 from her, 91 from him, for this volume, a small part of the 750 that have survived. But there is something new: Theodor Fontane's letter from Bad Kissingen, June 28, 1889, appears for the first time in book form; other letters, so far only survived in copies, could be reprinted from the resurfaced original manuscripts. In short introductions, Gotthard Erler tells what is necessary for understanding, outlines the uncertain, twists and turns of the life of Theodor Fontane and his “dear, good wife”.
Every evening they discussed the news of the day, news from friends and acquaintances, art events and politics. And this is how they conducted their correspondence, as a substitute for the “Papel Hours”.
Emilie was 42 when a letter she had just received from her six-year-old husband brought her completely out of "composure": "The blood rose in my face and I hurried to my room to be alone. How wonderfully written words work ... ".
land of
He killed a man. In emergency aid. To save his buddy Billy. That's why Isaac, 20, is now on the run. He wants to flee from this godforsaken valley in Pennsylvania, whose heart used to be steel. He wants to flee from his tyrannical, dependent father, who once toiled in the steel mill and from whom he has now stolen 4,000 dollars. He wants to flee from the police. And he wants to escape from his old life, in which he, Isaac English, the smartest boy in the valley, gave Billy Poe math tutoring and tried to study astrophysics at Yale, with which he failed. Philipp Meyer wrote "Rost" in 2009 long before Donald Trump took office. But Meyer describes the ground on which Trump could become president grandiose. It is the mixture of poverty, violence and hopelessness that the collapse of the steel industry has left in the “Rustbelt” - where Isaac grew up and Trump became president because he was elected by the desperate. “Rost” tells the dying of industry and people in the “rust belt” like a road movie, and yet its story is more than that: a far-sighted parable on “Trumpland”, which, despite Trump (he does not appear in the book), is read with pleasure can.
Hannah Arendt: I can't imagine how I should live without you one day. Correspondence with the friends. Piper Verlag, Munich 2018. 678 pages, 38 euros.
Elizabeth Jane Howard: The Years of Ease. Novel. Translated from the English by Ursula Wulfekamp. dtv, Munich 2018. 576 pages, 16.90 euros.

Essad Bey: Oil and Blood in the Orient.
Autobiographical report. The other library, Berlin 2018. 357 pages,
42 euros.
Christine Nöstlinger: The exchange child. Beltz & Gelberg,
Weinheim 2018.
160 pages, 6.95 euros.
Samanta Schweblin: Seven empty houses. Translated from the Spanish by Marianne Gareis. Suhrkamp, ​​Berlin 2018. 150 pages, 20 euros.

William Finnegan: Barbarian Days. From the English
by Tanja Handels. Suhrkamp, ​​Berlin 2018. 566 pages,
18 euros.
Bruges Meier:
Mine gold. The age of coal from 1750 to the present day. Verlag C. H. Beck, Munich 2018. 456 pages,
29.95 euros.

Oskar Ansull and Joachim Kersten (eds.): The young sound. Ernst Schulze, 1789–1817. Diaries and
Letters. Wallstein
Verlag, Göttingen, 2018. 288 pages. 19.90 euros.
George Saunders: Lincoln in the Bardo. Novel. Translated from the English by Frank Heibert. Luchterhand, Munich 2018. 448 pages, 25 euros.
Mikael Colville-
Andersen: Copenhagenize The Definitive Guide to Global Bicycle Urbanism. Island Press, London 2018. 296 pages,
24 euros.
Michel Decar:
A thousand German discos.
Ullstein Verlag,
Berlin 2018.
240 pages, 20 euros.

César Aira: The seamstress and the wind. Novel. Translated from the Spanish by Christian Hansen. Matthes & Seitz, Berlin 2017.
144 pages, 18 euros.
Fernando Aramburu: Patria. Novel. Translated from the Spanish by Willi Zurbrüggen. Rowohlt Verlag, Reinbek near Hamburg 2018. 907 pages, 25 euros.
Thomas Bauer: The disambiguation of the world. On the
Loss at
Ambiguity and Diversity. Reclam,
Ditzingen 2018.
104 pages, 6 euros.
Emilie & Theodor Fontane: Affection is something of a mystery. A marriage in letters. Published by Gotthard Erler. Structure Verlag, Berlin 2018. 320 pages, 18 euros.
Philipp Meyer: Rust. Novel. From the American by Frank Heibert. German paperback
Verlag, Munich 2012. 464 pages, 11.90 euros
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