Eight essays on literature, language,
art, Europe and life from one of Germany’s most revered living writers.
After a visit to Putin’s old postbox,
the reader is taken to Dresden and Brixton, Gdańsk and Minsk, diverted to birds,
bees, stray cats and pet dogs, confronted with Stasi and KGB, Proust and Jah
Shaka, puzzled by overcoats and anoraks, Francis Bacon and Vermeer, and lost
(then found) in service stations and memorial centres. Throughout, Marcel Beyer
forges unexpected links and makes unpredictable leaps.
work from the margins, partly very literally as I build my sentences, for
instance when I start with the name of a colour rather than a noun, to explore
how the sentence might be steered from there to a subject. In my reading, I am
drawn to the outliers or, as malicious claims would have it, to the obscure.
Central books: that is, those everyone can agree on, have never much interested
me. I am rarely tempted to explore the centre of my world in writing, and even
if I did want to encroach upon a centre, I would have to choose a path from the
outside. But outside, too, one advances to the heart of things.”