April 17, 2024


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A review of Michel Kohlmeier's novel “The Philosopher's Ship”

A review of Michel Kohlmeier's novel “The Philosopher's Ship”

HHe's done it again: Michael Kohlmer's recently published novel The Philosopher's Ship has reliably stormed the bestseller lists. With this, Kohlmeier follows up on his successful title “Frankie” from last year. There is a man who has a piece of paper, with his own hands, that is why he is a product and has the right to use it, so he looks at the other Figure: There is nothing else in this world, but also in the middle of the picture, so that there is a difference between the figure and the other figure. Come. “When they come, they bring a story with them, they tell it to me, and I write with it.” At least that's how Kohlmeyer described it in the publisher's own interview about “Frankie.”

The structure of the new novel is summed up in these exact words: The main character, the famous architect Anouk Perlman Jacob, approaches the narrator and asks him to tell part of her life story. However, this narrative framing is not only present at the beginning and end of the novel, in fact, almost all chapters are introduced and ended with it, representing individual sessions in which the narrator and the architect converse.

The conversational dynamic between the two characters is characterized by both mistrust and sympathy at the same time, which can be seen in how the narrator reacts to Perlman's exposition of Jacob: even though he may not share his wife's anger (age clearly does). “Does not protect against unreasonable behavior”), but you actually do not want to accept the offer. “But the next day I again pressed the bell button on the front door of the villa in Hietzing. “I had a can of Marlboro in my bag and my cell phone as a recording device. “The conversations between the two were filled with a little jeering and exchange of blows, but also full of friendly rapprochements. She notes that Kohlmeier’s novel focuses, as usual, on the characters and the relationship between them.

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There's also enough room for whatever story Perlman-Jacob wants to tell or wants to literaryize. Because the characters themselves address playing with imagination at the beginning of the novel: “What no one knows is what you have to write, a writer whose writing is unbelievable. It should be said. If no one believes it, all the better. But it must be told.” What she really wants to tell is the story of her family's expulsion from Russia on board one of the so-called philosopher's ships. Perelman-Jacob talks about this event in 1922, about life with her parents in St. Petersburg, the interrogation by the secret police Cheka, and finally Deportation: With only the necessary luggage, they were transferred to a steam turbine ship and exiled. Other passengers: Dozens of older spouses or siblings, all intellectuals who posed a danger in the eyes of the Bolsheviks.