Die Seiten der Welt: Blutbuch, von Kai Meyer
Book Review / May 28, 2019

Blutbuch by Kai Meyer My rating: 3 of 5 stars “Familien sind Bücher, die mit Blut geschrieben werden. Die Erinnerung an den Anfang schwindet, je näher man dem Ende kommt. Die vorderen Seiten mögen vom Gewicht der hinteren erdrückt werden, aber jedes Blutbuch braucht sämtliche Seiten mit all ihren Makeln, um vollständig zu sein.” Es gibt keinen Zweifel: Kai Meyer schreibt (meist) sehr, sehr schön und kann sowohl spannend und schnell als auch mitreißend und mit “Tiefgang”. Den ersten Teil dieser Trilogie, “Die Seiten der Welt”, habe ich im Herbst 2015 gelesen und mich sofort in diese wunderbare Welt verliebt. Mit phantastischen (sic!) Einfällen, viel Charme und Warmherzigkeit zog mich die Magie des Romans schnell in ihren Bann. Auch den zweiten Teil, “Nachtland”, habe ich im Frühjahr 2016 sehr gern gelesen. Tatsächlich finden sich beide Bücher in meinen Favoriten wieder. Nun ist es 2019, mehr als drei Jahre nach meinem letzten Ausflug zwischen die Seiten der Welt. Furia, die Heldin der Trilogie, und mittlerweile Freiheitskämpferin erscheint mir weitgehend unverändert – und doch konnte mich dieser dritte und letzte Band nicht mehr so mitreißen wie seine Vorgänger. Die Geschichte, die sich leider allzu kurz und knapp zusammenfassen läßt: Furia und ihre…

An Absolutely Remarkable Thing, by Hank Green
Book Review / May 23, 2019

An Absolutely Remarkable Thing by Hank Green My rating: 2 of 5 stars “I don’t think I actually felt any of those ways, but it seemed on-brand.” This book actually is a remarkable thing. Remarkably horrible, in fact. Or maybe it’s the generation gap – at least if we’re not talking about biological age because Green is just about four years younger than me. This “Thing” deals with the appearance of aliens in every major city on earth and a young adult woman, April May (seriously?), who becomes an Internet celebrity for dealing with the implications of this “visit”. I chose the initial quote because everything in this book is pretty much superficial and only deals very shallowly with all the possible implications of physical confirmation of the existence of intelligent life beyond Earth. (Well, intelligence is relative – as anyone reading to the end will find out when “Carl” utters a single simple word as “judgement” on mankind.) The entire book is basically Hank Green trying to build upon his clout as an Internet celebrity (at least I guess he is; I’ve never heard of him) and tries to stay “on-brand” just like his not-very-likeable heroine. Oh, and April…

Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine, by Gail Honeyman
Book Review / May 16, 2019

Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman My rating: 5 of 5 stars “I was fine, perfectly fine on my own, but I needed to keep Mummy happy, keep her calm so she would leave me in peace. A boyfriend—a husband?—might just do the trick. It wasn’t that I needed anyone. I was, as I previously stated, perfectly fine.“ Eleanor Oliphant most certainly is not fine. Unless, maybe, Honeyman has read Louise Penny’s brilliant mysteries, among them “Dead Cold” (also published as “A Fatal Grace”) and actually means FINE (she even uses this term in all-caps herself) which stands for “Fucked up, Insecure, Neurotic and Egotistical”. That’s part of what Eleanor is. I’ve read this book is about loneliness and, yes, it certainly is but it’s so much more – depression, childhood abuse and recovery. Eleanor goes to work, trying to avoid any non-essential contact with her co-workers or, in fact, any human being for that matter. She relies completely on her routines (“I sat down and watched television alone, like I do Every. Single. Night.”) and abhors any deviations. Whenever she starts to actually experience feelings, she drowns them in Vodka. Suddenly and by pure chance, Raymond enters…

Kaffee und Zigaretten, von Ferdinand von Schirach
Book Review / May 11, 2019

Kaffee und Zigaretten by Ferdinand von Schirach My rating: 5 of 5 stars “Die Würde des Menschen ist die strahlende Idee der Aufklärung, sie kann den Hass und die Dummheit lösen, sie ist lebensfreundlich, weil sie von unserer Endlichkeit weiß, und erst durch sie werden wir in einem tiefen und wahren Sinn zu Menschen.” Zu Ferdinand von Schirach kam ich über sein Buch “Verbrechen”. Irgendwo stolperte ich über den Namen dieses Buches und natürlich kannte ich die Familie von Schirach aus der deutschen Geschichte. Ferdinand von Schirach selbst war mir jedoch kein Begriff und so googelte ich ihn und fand schnell heraus, daß er der Enkel Baldur von Schirachs ist, des “Reichsjugendführers” im nationalsozialistischen Deutschland. Nun ist der Nationalsozialismus ein Thema, das mir persönlich sehr wichtig ist. Ich bin 1975 geboren und so ist es vollkommen klar, daß ich keine Schuld an den Verbrechen der Nazis trage. Ich bin aber in Deutschland als Deutscher geboren und so trage ich – mit allen anderen Deutschen zusammen – eine historische Verantwortung, die Geschichte nicht in Vergessenheit geraten zu lassen und eben keinen Schlußstrich oder ähnliches zuzulassen. Werden wir nämlich Geschichtsvergessen, tragen wir eine Mitschuld, sollte sich diese wiederholen. Bis heute jedoch ist…

Repentance, by Andrew Lam

Repentance by Andrew Lam My rating: 3 of 5 stars “The fact that they had nothing to do with Pearl Harbor didn’t matter. They were guilty by association, by the color of their skin and the slant of their eyes. It didn’t matter that they didn’t speak Japanese, or that they were American citizens. The bottom line was that their kind had perpetrated a horrid crime that came from the land of their ancestors. The shame was a burden that all Nisei silently bore, a burden every soldier in the 442nd was fighting to be free of.” I got this book for free as a win from LibraryThing’s Early Reviewers program. Thanks! “Repentance” tells the story of Daniel Tokunaga, a successful surgeon, who is confronted with his estranged father’s past during the Second World War. Daniel’s father is of Japanese descent and fought as part of the 442nd Infantry Regiment, the most decorated unit in U.S. military history. During (mostly) alternating chapters narrating of 1944 (Daniel’s father and his best friend) and 1998 till 1999 we learn a lot about Daniel and his own family as well. Even though Lam doesn’t have his own style, his writing is fairly well,…

The Buried Giant, by Kazuo Ishiguro
Book Review / May 3, 2019

The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro My rating: 2 of 5 stars “That’s true, good lady, but then we boatmen have seen so many over the years it doesn’t take us long to see beyond deceptions. Besides, when travellers speak of their most cherished memories, it’s impossible for them to disguise the truth. A couple may claim to be bonded by love, but we boatmen may see instead resentment, anger, even hatred. Or a great barrenness. Sometimes a fear of loneliness and nothing more. Abiding love that has endured the years—that we see only rarely. When we do, we’re only too glad to ferry the couple together. Good lady, I’ve already said more than I should.” Axl and Beatrice, an elderly couple, live in post-Roman Britain. They – like everyone – are suffering from some strange memory loss that prevents them from recalling large parts of their lives: “Now I think of it, Axl, there may be something in what you’re always saying. It’s queer the way the world’s forgetting people and things from only yesterday and the day before that. […] Like a sickness come over us all.” Sometimes, though, either Axl or Beatrice do remember things from their…