A quick check on google told me where I had to go to in Copenhagen to find some new food for my brain since all my brought novels were already resting in my stomach.
Haruki Murakami ("Sputnik Sweetheart") had been a low-fat, very light starter for my travels: No heavy words there, no complicated emotions, no abysses of the human mind, just the pure and simple essence of being an anyone on this planet. Quite delicious, very much a brainmeal for the summer.
Philip Roth afterwards in Copenhagen then was tasty, but not at all - how do you say so very fitting - "rich in content". The good and solid kitchen Roth enters to create his brainfood has smoked ham and eggs as the speciality on the menue and is all in all rather "preserved". Vitamins and carbon hydrats are missing, the whole creation put in front of you on the table looks pretty brownish and boring, like you were eating in an old-fashion restaurant in Prague. Well, sure, he`s been writing about how it is to get old in "Exit Ghost", obviously that is not a fun-thing to do. Still, I learned nothing new from this book and his proudly presented oh-so-authentic-71-year-old thoughts, which could as well be the ones of a 25 year old like me. Which is in my conclusion the best part of this book after all: It shows that things will never change! Roth`s protagonist seems to have quite romantic views upon being young and forgets, that life "back then" was not at all much better than "later on" and also confuses the awareness of death with the fear of death in my opinion and therefore preaches of the last one, which is a mindly trap, instead of holding up the first one, which leads to acceptance. Besides, that stupid Roth stole my idea of using a fictitious dialogue written by the maincharacter as a literary instrument to show the protagonist`s true inner desires. Damnit!
And to top it all (the more I write the more I notice how much I actually dislike the Bohemian kitchen) that Roth-dude claims George Orwell to have been a loser because he went voluntarily into poverty at some point of hos career as a writor and was living on the streets. This defamation is so completely off the road, that I had to shut the book for a moment in perplex disbelief when I first read it. But the second time I read it, it was still there. And Roth therefore became my (for his consistency in style and flux in words respected) enemy.
I was also reading Peter Handke, but won`t get deeper into that for now, because today I - as I said - went out to find new brainfood after those literary and more or less digestive reconnaissances from above (jesus, what a word, I didn`t even know until just now about its existance and still don`t now how to pronounce it).
So, here is the new Baby:
"Shantaram" by Gregory David Roberts
It should interest quite a few of you, if not for its content, then for the fact that it is being transformed into a movie right now and of course, whenever Hollywood is doing a (hopefully) good book-adaption, Johnny Depp is playing the maincharacter.
Once upon a time there was this guy called Kalle entering my life. He was a young Swede who looked like a fisherman in his yellow windjacket and with the woolen hat on his shoulderlong dark hair, and was selling Berlin for no-natives (or whatever that only in the english language published culturemagazine was called) in my local cafebar. I somehow mistook him for an Aussie and that is how we started talking: I was sitting there reading - I think it was Ludger Lütkehaus with "Nichts" (german for "nothing") - and took the offered zine thankfully as a welcomed change to Lütkehaus`neverending philosophical varieties of the word "nothing". So I asked the fisherman: "Hey, you write for that zine?", which I took for granted since I - as already mentioned - took him for a Dude and from what my charactersensores were telling me, he also definitely seemed to be some kind of free-thinker or an artist with his headstrong way of clothing, which was screaming "I DON`T CARE WHAT YOU ARE THINKING" into the world around him in a charming way. But he answered: "No. I am just the lousy seller. But is there something you want to know about it?" "No, not really", I said a bit disappointed and asked him right away and just to prove my nationalitysensors were at least still working: "You`re from Australia, aren`t you?", but he said: "Actually no. I am from Sweden. Used to live in Australia once though." I was baffled! I had been so sure. The way he looked and his dialect, the dark full voice and the fitness all around him, his tallnes. That guy should be a Swede? "No shit...!?", was all I uttered while staring at him in disbelief. "Yeah", he said, apparently completely misunderstanding my sudden interest, because he went on:" I was living in Sydney for.." "No no no, that is not what I meant", I interrupted him:" I believe you were living in Australia, that`s not the point, but, you know, I usually always can tell when there is a Swede standing in front of me and you seem so totally not swedish at all!" He was laughing and obviously developing an interest himself now in the the selfproclaimed ultimate Swede-detector sitting there in front of him because he said: "You know what? It is time I took a break anyway. Can I join you for a while?"
That is how I met Kalle. And it turned out Kalle was also a writor. A writor like me, who hadn`t written anything big yet.
We`ve had some great, but unfortunately very few days coming up there afterwards. Until he vanished. Just like that. I missed his last calls when I was riding my bike to the very same cafebar where we first had met and where we wanted to meet again. My cellphone showed four calls in absence from an unkown number, which had to be his, four calls within only fifteen minutes. Four, the magic number, cause it was also supposed to be our fourth date. On one of these previous dates we had been talking about how much a favourite book or writor can tell about his reader`s personality. We therefore went to a bookstore together and I urged him to buy David Foster Wallace with Infinite Jest, while he urged me to read Henry Miller`s Sexus. But he had to think a bit first to decide, whether it should be really that or if Gregory David Robert`s Shantaram wouldn't be even better.
Proof: Kalle actually existed not only in my head - it is his handwriting in my notebook
So that is why I bought this book today. And I will think of Kalle while reading it, whereever he might be. Because after these last four unanswered calls I was up until today unable to call him back or get hold of him.
And here`s the first sentences:
"It took me a long time and most of the world to learn what I know about love and fate and the choices we make, but the heart of it came to me in an instant, while I was chained to a wall and being tortured. I realised, somehow, through the screaming in my mind, that even in that shackled, bloody helplessness, I was still free: free to hate the men who were torturing me, or to forgive them. It doesn`t sound like much, I know. But in the flinch and bite of the chain, when it`s all you`ve got, that freedom is a universe of possibility. And the choice you make, between hating and forgiving, can become the story of your life.
In my case, it`s a long story, and a crowded one. I was a revolutionary who lost his ideals in heroin, a philosopher who lost his integrity in crime, and a poet who lost his soul in a maximum-security prison."
...and his story is a true story...a magic-story. A suck-me-in-story.