Psychology ǀ Eternal Erik – Friday

by time news

Hans-Ulrich Treichel’s novels have pervaded two main themes for almost 25 years. The one that he did with his successful novella The lost one 1998: loss and search for memory. The narrator’s brother was lost on the run from the Red Army shortly before the end of the war, but has been wanted by his parents ever since. In addition to the psychological study of a boy who was overshadowed by his lost brother early on with his parents, Treichel drew a detailed portrait of the early years of the FRG, between Adenauer fever and economic miracle. To the Lost at least two more novels followed that followed the topic.

That at a presentation of his new novel More beautiful than ever again the Lost comes into focus is because there is also a competitive situation in the new book, which Treichel can enjoy according to the rules of human behavior. What we probably know: Since school there has been someone who succeeds in everything better than ourselves. He cannot help being envied and does not play it off, but we see ourselves in a life race with him. At least that’s Andreas, who Erik is always ahead of. He can have women Andreas can only dream of, a car before graduation and an apartment at the place of study before the studies have even started. Be like Erik for once! That is the silent prayer. Here Treichel ties in with his second main topic: people who do not shine in life, are shy, sometimes pathetic. Such antiheroes – as we see them in, for example The earthly Cupid could meet – likes Treichel.

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The narrator has firmly expected that Erik will study architecture and has signed up for the subject himself, but does not meet him there. Erik has disappeared for Andreas for almost 20 years. Then chance helps and they meet. In West Berlin in the 1970s, where Treichel knows his way around because he studied there himself and worked as a university lecturer. With Andreas the race for life flares up again immediately. Erik has become an architect, even a film architect, with assignments from Hollywood – Andreas is only a Romance writer in teacher training. That’s “just” what Andreas thinks. But with this Treichel does not give up his antihero lost. Suddenly an opportunity opens up for those who feel inferior in an almost neurotic manner. The crush of his enthusiastic love for the French film, a star of Romy Schneider’s caliber, is suddenly on the phone. She wanted to speak to Erik, but he is in Hollywood, which is why the other is allowed to use Erik’s apartment. Andreas doesn’t tell Erik that he gets to know Hélène and is allowed to show her Berlin. Life finally makes him the chosen one. Even if not much happens between the two of them and the star only thanks him in a friendly manner: “Good-bye, and thanks again for everything!”, It could be that Andreas is actually living better from now on. The chances shouldn’t be great, but the curtain on page 175 is quickly drawn.

Finely told by hand

How Treichel leads his main character around the triumph in the life competition and thereby exhausts all psychological possibilities, that makes this little novel, which is reminiscent of characters from the novels of Wilhelm Genazino and the films of Woody Allen, a pleasure to read. The reader will be happy to keep their fingers crossed for the clumsy man, if he could be himself. A life in competition with winners and losers like in real life – that is the subtly mixed in truth about life.

That More beautiful than ever is still set on the walled island of West Berlin, Hélène’s call does not reach Erik’s cell phone because the cell phone has not yet been invented, is Treichel’s agreement so that he can tell the story the way he wants to tell it. The novel is not a letter of recommendation for entry into the avant-garde, but a narrative with fine craftsmanship that knows how to draw some wit from its story.


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