Olaf Müller

Refuge

Olaf Müller
Berlin: Berlin-Verlag, 2000
330 S.
ISBN 3-8270-0361-X
Paperback Edition: Berliner Taschenbuchverlag, 2003

Henry Magdaleni, a 17 year old adolescent residing in Blubars in the Democratic Republic of Germany, finds enormous difficulties to be fulfilled in his socio-cultural environment. Excluded and marginalized, he leads the life of a social outcast. In love with the sisters Beatrice and Ursula Rotuma, he is unable to choose between the two, which discredits him before the family. To overcome the difficulties he has in asserting his authority in his native town, Henry helps a journal entitled "Refuge" in which he builds for himself a universe that sharply contrasts the hard reality. Unfortunately, it is always present and oppressing. That is why Henry makes a tentative adventure to West Berlin after the fall of the wall in 1989.

As he returns ten years later to Blubars, it is a cemetery that welcomes him: his mother is no longer alive, neither are the Rotumas. The visit that Henry pays to Simon, his former companion in misery, ends in a conflict. That is why he leaves East Germany for Namibia where his grandfather had formerly served under the banner of the German colonial army. The Namibian adventure is no longer rose: Henry, tried by famine, thirst and the desert climate only draws vital energy from his journal. Moreover he is taken hostage at Swakopmund by Simon who had been charged by the late widow Rotuma to assassinate him. Fortunately, a hurricane broke in the desert where Simon had led him, thus favouring Henry’s escape. This miracle enables him to recover a certain harmony with himself and his environment. In the dry bed of the "orange" river, he gets rid of his journal. This act symbolizes the beginning of a new life.

    Olaf Müller: Tintenpalast (Refuge)

    Olaf Mueller's novel is a sharp criticism of the East German society as it is before and after the fall of the Berlin wall. Through the misadventure of his hero Henry Magdaleni, the author shows the difficulties met by an adolescent in finding his way in a system that does not favour the blooming of an individual.More ...