Entertainment Johan Harstad's crime novel “For readers who hate reading”

03:32  02 october  2022
03:32  02 october  2022 Source:   berliner-zeitung.de

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It was 2019 when the breathtaking giant novel “Max, Mischa and the Tet-Offensive” by Norwegian Johan Harstad, born in 1979, was published. It was a friendship, love, educational, artist, war and exile novel, everything in one. This time Harstad focuses on just one topic: "In the act" is a novel about literature, more precisely: about crime literature.

  Johan Harstads Krimis „für Leser, die das Lesen hassen“ © provided by Berliner Zeitung

The new book is also a counterpart to the previous one. While this was almost 1250 pages thick, that ultra -aburze contains texts. Harstad reports on a German literary scholar named Bruno Aigner, who publishes the short thriller of the Norwegian author Frode Brandeggen and commented in detail; Both Aigner and Brandeggen are fictional. So much in front: the book is a stunning parodist deception. According to Harstad or rather Aigner, Brandeggen had written a monstrous novel with the interesting title "conglomeratic breath" years ago, of which about eight copies had been sold. The text was pure avant-garde, completely illegible and as extensive as a sumo wrestler: 2322 pages. From Gram and Despite Brandeggen now turns into super short thrillers. Her hero is the private detective fresh, whose name à la Maigret is regularly mentioned in the title.

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Frisch's everyday life is similar to that of Chandler's Philipe Marlowe, but his days are much shorter because everything goes much faster. "Are you the diamond thief," asks Frisch. The confession immediately: "You are just too good, fresh." The publisher Aigner's publisher: "The case is solved before you have time to get bored." A wonderful example of swafel -free compression ... We see that there are crime novels "for readers who hate reading" - says Brandeggen even in his notes.

Brandeggen's “concentrated crime literature”, as Aigner calls it, is also in the tradition of the French “Banalism movement” (which is of course also fictional). This creates a kind of counterpart to the French “Oulipo”, which includes seasoned (and anything but banal) authors such as Georges Perec, Raymond Queneau, Italo Calvino and Oskar Pastior. When reading, we Germans may also be reminded of the private detective "Nick Knatterton", also a parody, namely his creator Manfred Schmidt on the American comic wave; Schmidt's stories like to start with the banistic sentence: "Combine: A new case is due."

The riversless, absurd comments of the editor Aigner, of course, set up the crown of the parody. In it, the entire literary operation is pulled by the cocoa. The fifteen short thrillers are "short and bad as I could," said Harstad in conversation, the comments, on the other hand, are as witty and absurd and good as he could. Here, in the critical apparatus, there is the real enjoyment for us readers. "In the act" is as banal as a delicious book!

Johan Harstad: In a fresh deed.

from the Norwegian von Ursel Allenstein. Rowohlt, Hamburg 2022. 256 pages, 24 euros

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This is interesting!