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Winterbienen

I’m currently reading Norbert Scheuer’s new novel Winterbienen (‘Winter Bees’). I’ve just started it, and so far like it very much. It plays during World War II, and I found the following paragraph reminiscent of the current situation in Iran:

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Expertise on Iran

Photo By Fabienkhan

In the very early hours of Wednesday, when a war between Iran and the USA seemed inevitable, I was unsure I could teach my two classes as if nothing had happened. One being on Iranian history and the other on Zoroastrianism in late antiquity, there was no easy way to connect the teaching to the political events of the day. I had woken up to the news of Iran having fired missiles at US military bases over in Iraq. The development was not entirely unexpected, but I was shocked and could sense the signs of that familiar feeling of paralising anxiety that comes with the expectation of a bloody conflict that I have known since the Iranian revolution of 1979, when I was younger than my youngest son is today. A couple of decades and more violent conflicts later, I am unsure, I will ever be old and wise enough to understand violence of this sort.

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The Growing Poison

I have observed the phenomenon of the Neglected Child for over a decade. I admit, I’m not a psychologist and might have had to do with a particularly difficult instance of this personality trait, otherwise often referred to as “narcissism”.

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Saša Stanišić: Herkunft

Am Flughafen. Ich bemerke, dass ich mein Buch vergessen habe, will aber unbedingt etwas lesen. Ich frage im kleinen Buchladen nach “Winterbienen”. Die Verkäuferin, die sich gut auskennt, lächelt. Ich Frage nach dem Grund: “Wir haben das Buch lange hier gehabt, niemand hat danach gefragt. Also haben wir es weggelegt”. Ich kaufe mir “Herkunft”. Es ist ein großartiges Buch, ich weiß aber nicht, ob es ein Roman oder eine Autobiographie ist. Im Englischen würde man es wahrscheinlich “autofiction” nennen.

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New kind of story!

I once knew someone whose mother drove his/her divorced father into alcoholism by emotional abuse, incessant calls, abusive language, and harassment. She did the same to her Child, while the alcoholic father also abused the Child in different and unimaginable ways.

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On exegesis, sort of!

I know, the title is a clickbait and will disappoint most. Still, those thinking that exegesis is a matter of highly theological speculation, reserved for those educated in the study of scripture, might be wrong. Exegesis hits when you expect it the least. The following text, for instance, is an excerpt from an e-mail that I received in May 2018. It questions the relationship between holy scripture, oaths, and truth:

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Hafez is a genius!

If for nothing else, Hafez is a genius just for this one line:

در تنگنای حیرتم از نخوت رقیب
یارب مباد آن که گدا معتبر شود

Must be a universal feeling, as Robert Walser seems to have felt similar: “Wenn Schwache sich für stark halten”!

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Stille!

Not my style of literature, but whoever writes about walking, mountains and silence gets my attention! Werner Herzog’s (@wernerhurtzog) “Vom Gehen im Eis” and Robert Walser’s “Der Spaziergang” remain clear favourites.

Kann ich der Welt nicht durch Gehen, Klettern oder Segeln entkommen, habe ich gelernt, sie auszusperren.

Kagge | Stille
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There There!

“There There”, a beautifully written novel and incredible storytelling by Tommy Orange. I sometimes read e-samples before buying a book. This one’s caught my attention immediately and read it to the end. I got off the plane and almost went to Dussmann shortly before midnight to buy the book. Luckily they had an open Sunday the next day. I look forward to reading more by @thommyorange.

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Japanese cat writing

I love cats, but am not crazy about them and certainly not a cat vs dog person. I like cats a reasonable amount. A while ago, however, I stumbled upon Junichiro Tanizaki’s cat story, read it out of curiosity and absolutely loved it. Months later, I caught myself remembering it as a B&W film, so lucid and expressive is its language and storytelling.