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Flights of Love

Schlink, Bernhard

Verlag: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, London, 2002
ISBN 10: 0297829033 / ISBN 13: 9780297829034
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Titel: Flights of Love

Verlag: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, London

Erscheinungsdatum: 2002

Einband: paperback

Zustand: Good

Art des Buches: Used


Uncorrected proof paperback copy. Minimal wear on spine head, leading corners and leading edges, with a further small blue stain on rear leading edge. A few superficial scores elsewhere on covers. Small stain on page block head; small smudge on FEP. Pages within are bright and clean with sound binding and clear text throughout. TS. Buchnummer des Verkäufers 259929

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A mesmeric collection of stories about love. In his characteristically unsentimental, elegant and spare prose, Schlink unveils characters and relationships haunted by betrayal and guilt, in situations where self-examination is inescapable.

FLIGHTS OF LOVE consists of seven stories, all of them weaving around the idea of love - why people are drawn to it and why some run away. Schlink shows us, in turn, love as desire, love as confusion, love as a quick affair, love as a drastic life-changing rebellion, love as a force of habit, love as self-betrayal. The cumulative effect is a book which uses effortlessly beguiling language to examine the universal human desire to find a lasting loving relationship, however thwarted that desire ultimately is.

Rezension: Flights of Love sees Bernhard Schlink build on the success of his international-bestselling debut novel The Reader with a clutch of short stories that tell of the variety of love, distilled into seven splinters of narrative. Despite its title, the collection represents no great departure for Schlink, who continues in a similarly unflighty vein to explore his country's modern history, contrasting mid-life crises with utopian visions to discover unlikely shades of love, streaked with guilt, shame or unconscionable pride. The pick of the seven, the opening "Girl with Lizard", depicts a remote male character who fixates on a painting of his father's, which he is to discover, like his father, has a familiarly unsavoury past, and which he is impelled to exorcise. In the book's centrepiece "Sugar Peas", architect and amateur painter Thomas finds that his trio of lovers avenge themselves on his profligacy after he is left wheelchair-bound by an accident. "The Other Man" sees a widower corresponding with his dead wife's unwitting lover and finding comfort through acquaintance. Less successfully, "The Circumcision" sees the pretext of a German man and his New York Jewish girlfriend to ponder huge, chewy rhetoric on the problems of reconciling the past, almost absent-mindedly concocting an improbable denouement.

And this is the weakness of the collection. Too often, Schlink presents scenarios rather than scenes, more intent on dislocated dilemma than language. In keeping with his legal training, he discerns lines of attack perhaps more suited to a drama, or perhaps a courtroom drama, than fiction. There can be no doubting Schlink's storytelling acumen, or his undertaking to tackle the complicated identity of modern Germany. What are increasingly exposed, though, are the supporting mechanisms which frequently serve to reinforce, rather than challenge, our assumptions. Books such as Walter Abish's How German Is It and John Scott's The Architect have demonstrated how such preoccupations can be artfully whipped into stimulating fiction. Schlink's minimalist pieces, while well crafted, generally lack both intimacy and humour, resulting in unleavened fodder, weighed down by intent. --David Vincent

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