sexta-feira, setembro 29, 2006

"Die Haarteppichknüpfer" by Andreas Eschbach



I picked up this book purely by chance, but I was completely flabbergasted by it !

I've been reading Science Fiction for more than 25 years and I didn't expect to be blown away by this book. After all I think someone said that SF is dead and buried ! Not so ! This is not exactly Hard SF, but the scent is there. It reminds me of some of the Charles Stross' books ( serie "The Merchant Princes" ). Like Stross Eschbach is a true master of the form. It's not old-SF disguised as new. It's really new !

I haven't finished it yet, but I can't wait to write something about it. I've just gone on the net to find something more about this guy. It turns out that this was his first book, which came out in 1995 ! I think it should be translated into english so that more people can read it.

With his first work Eschbach shows that the German SF is not dead. The world sketched by it is just as extremely moving as strange, and without any spectacular action Supports or Super Aliens. By continuous jumps in character perspectives as well as Timelines, the author knows how to catch the reader's attention up to the end, until finally the multitude of mosaics result in a larger picture.
Even if the resolution and some other narrative aspects have more to do with Fantasy than with Science Fiction, it's still one hell of a book !

The structure of the book is very much like a collection of short-stories, but on a deeper level it's not. It's something different. There's always a thin thread that links all the chapters together ( like a tapestry ... ), but sometimes you've got to look closer, because it's hard to see and understand.

The first paragraph is quite extraordinary, because it sets the tone for the remainder of the book. It reads like a Fairy Tale, without being one ... :

"Knoten um Knoten, tagein, tagaus, ein Leben lang, immer die gleichen Handbewegungen, immer die gleichen Knoten in das feine Haar schlingend, so fein und winzig, daß die Finger zittrig wurden mit der Zeit und die Augen schwach von der Anstrengung des Sehens - und die Fortschritte waren kaum zu merken; wenn er gut vorankam, entstand in einem Tag ein neues Stück seines Teppichs, das vielleicht so groß war wie sein Fingernagel. So hockte er an dem knarrenden Knüpfrahmen, an dem schon sein Vater gesessen war und vor ihm dessen Vater, in der gleichen gebeugten Haltung, die alte, halbblinde Vergrößerungslinse vor den Augen, die Arme auf das abgewetzte Brustbrett gestützt und nur mit den Fingerspitzen die Knotennadel führend. So knüpfte er Knoten um Knoten in der seit Generationen überlieferten Weise, bis er in einen Trancezustand geriet, in dem ihm wohl war; sein Rücken hörte auf zu schmerzen, und er spürte das Alter nicht mehr, das ihm in den Knochen saß. Er lauschte auf die vielfältigen Geräusche des Hauses, das der Großvater seines Urgroßvaters erbaut hatte - den Wind, der ewig gleich über das Dach strich und sich in offenen Fenstern fing, das Klappern von Geschirr und die Gespräche seiner Frauen und Töchter unten in der Küche. Jedes Geräusch war ihm vertraut. Er hörte die Stimme der Weisen Frau heraus, die seit einigen Tagen im Haus lebte, weil Garliad, seine Nebenfrau, ihre Niederkunft erwartete. Er hörte die halbstumme Türglocke scheppern, dann ging die Haustür, und Aufregung kam in das Gemurmel der Gespräche. Das war wahrscheinlich die Händlerin, die heute kommen sollte mit Lebensmitteln, Stoffen und anderen Dingen."
( I won't even dream of translating this ... )

I hope the english edition will appear one of this days. Unfortunately I think much will be lost in the translation ( the poetry of the prose, the choosing of words, the interplay between sentences, etc ).

Those of you who know German go and a grab a copy. You won't regret it ! Those who don't, well ...

It's a crepuscular novel, filled with silences and things not said. Very strange and surreal indeed. But the strangest thing about this novel is that the protagonists of the Story, the Carpets themselves, are not described at all ! They are there, we are able to think about them, to imagine them. Maybe that's the all point.

Author's homepage : http://www.andreaseschbach.de/
( the abovementioned paragraph was extracted from this homepage )

1 comentário:

João disse...

Manuel,

foi feita uma tradução para inglês salvo erro em 2005.
Li o livro em inglês este ano e de facto é excepcional. Embora não tendo lido o livro em alemão ( não tenho critério de comparação ), acho que a tradução em inglês é acima da média.

Em inglês o livro chama-se "The Carpet Makers".

Boas leituras,

João