This side of Africa
Diesseits von Afrika
Münster: Verlag Tebbert, 1997
Michael leaves his wife Irene one afternoon and settles with his mistress Gloria. Gloria married to Ralf, abandons the latter despite the nine years they have spent together. She accuses him of never being present when she needed him, she who is a woman in search of affectionate security. The new couple Michael-Gloria live in a love relationship which was born some time earlier in Africa. In fact, it is in the Algerian town of Ghardaia that the two met during a safari. It is thus in this town that were established the bases to this love which grew and was consolidated in Germany due to an effort of understanding displayed by Michael and Gloria.
Hannelore Bühler: Diesseits von Afrika
(This side of Africa)
Ghardaia is clearly opposed to European towns by the prevailing warm atmosphere, thus favouring contact and exchange between individuals. The dialogue reflex which never existed with the couples Micheal - Irene and Ralf-Gloria is acquired in Africa and transported by the new lovers to their native Germany. It is this same dialogue that saves them from divers difficulties hanging from time to time over their relationship. If the image of Africa appears in this novel as a symbol of revitalisation between individuals having lost their marks in a highly industrialised western society, the reader nevertheless realises that it is a practical and even a forced image.
At the bottom, Michael and Gloria who go to Africa are not in search of the foreign country. They seek happiness far from home, because they can not find it in a world in which individualism prevails. Even though they are strongly focused on western life, Buehler's novel has however, the merit of presenting an aspect of Africa still sheltered from the perverse effects of modernism.