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Thomas Meyer
Battling the Hate Machine with Absurdity

Motti was kicked out of his home because of his affair with a non-Jewish girl. As a member of a Jewish global conspiracy force, he again encounters a shiksa – this time she’s a beautiful Nazi shiksa with a murder contract.

By Swantje Schütz

Meyer: Wolkenbruchs waghalsiges Stelldichein mit der Spionin © Diogenes The family of Mordechai, Motti for short, has banished their son from their pious Jewish home in Zurich. Shortly thereafter, Motti is visited in his hotel room by Mr Hirsch from Israel. Hirsch wants to recruit him for an organisation called the Lost Sons of Israel, which he describes as a “group of Jews who are no longer Orthodox whose families have broken with them because of it”.

Resistance from the mines

Next thing we know, Motti finds himself with others like him in a kibbutz outside Tel Aviv. They are still very far from their goal of being able to declare domination over world Jewry. And that’s why Motti is there. He even takes over leadership of the group. But he first has to break the bad news that one of their best agents, the literary critic Marcel Reich-Ranicki, has been dead for more than five years.
The absurdity takes its course. At the same time, some Nazis and their descendants, living in isolation since the Second World War, are working in a Bavarian mine gallery as they, too, want to seize world domination. With the help of a Hate Computer they developed alongside a “Volksrechner” (laptop) and a “Volksrechnerlein” (mobile phone), they aim to win World War 3.

War of the machines

What ensues is merely a verbal war between machines: Motti’s troop reprograms the digital assistant Alexa. Named after Motti’s mother, from now on “Shoshanna’s” recommendations focus on Jewish music and restaurants, kosher food, etc. Shoshanna and her opponent, the Hate Machine, not only fight nasty verbal skirmishes, but their political fake news shakes up the world.

Never-ending wit and humour

After Wolkenbruch’s Wondrous Journey into the Arms of a Shiksa (2012), the Swiss author Thomas Meyer provided us with a second volume about Motti Wolkenbruch from Zurich in 2019. Wolkenbruchs waghalsiges Stelldichein mit der Spionin (Wolkenbruch’s Daredevil Rendezvous with the Spy) is a great book about racism and parenthetically also about current world events (it was also published as an audio book read by the author). Plenty of witty passages, clever ideas and puns suggest that the author’s imagination is inexhaustible and that he has a very fine and mischievous sense of humour. From the first to the last page, it’s a wonderful read for lovers of a morbid sense of humour. Just when you think he’s surely, truly, really reached the height of absurdity, you’re surprised yet again and happily keep on reading. I’m ready for part three and can’t wait for more!

Logo Rosinenpicker © Goethe-Institut / Illustration: Tobias Schrank Thomas Meyer: Wolkenbruchs waghalsiges Stelldichein mit der Spionin
Zürich: Diogenes, 2019. 288 S.
ISBN: 978-3-257-07080-4

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