Fiction – Novels, Novellas, Short Stories

Martin Walser
Statt etwas oder Der letzte Rank

© Rowohlt Verlag, Reinbek bei Hamburg, 2017 Martin Walser: Statt etwas oder Der letzte Rank © Rowohlt Verlag, Reinbek near Hamburg, 2017Unlike his antipode Günter Grass, who set himself up as being opposed to everything while always swimming along in the mainstream, Walser never landed on his feet, but got caught in traps, some of which were of his own making. It is hard to say how much of this was out of loyalty to principles and how much was tactical ineptitude. The painful reflexes to all these incidents twitch through the book directly below the skin of its asserted composure. And then, of course, there is the chapter on Walser and women. Here the reader is offered something resembling the recollection of specific experiences, albeit in an anonymous and anecdotal form.
It is not superfluous to listen to what Walser has to say in his defence here, since his statements contain remarkable insights into the exclusivity and divisibility of love, and into the relationship of truth and lies. “I knew I could only believe people who lie to me. That is to say, who, for my sake, tell me untruths. Just as much truth comes into the world through lies as through truth.“ (…) It is an incomplete but highly personal summary, more interesting than all the wisdom of the Brahman. In the end, this did not turn out to be an entirely reconciliatory book, however. But who would want a reconciliatory Walser anyway?

Burkhard Müller: „Meine Feinde“
© Süddeutsche Zeitung, 5 January 2017

Martin Walser
Statt etwas oder Der letzte Rank
Rowohlt Verlag, Reinbek near Hamburg, 2017
ISBN 9783498073923
170 pages


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