September 27, 2021

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Contertext: "A hard hit that contains everything"

Contertext: “A hard hit that contains everything”

Two resilient characters work in Ilya Trojanov’s novel Double track. Their goal is nothing less than to reveal the Russian leadership of Donald Trump, and the businessman and later president’s relationships with the KGB, Russian banks and the Kremlin. Day and night, the two stare at their screens and examine the disordered materials that leaked to them from two unknown sources. What only search networks like Bellingcat dare to do today, the two want to finish in their small New York office and “compose a plausible narrative out of this package,” as the first-person narrator confidently declares. This should behave like a bomb when deployed. “A colossal blow contains everything. The audience is not breathing. “

Indeed, Ilija Trojanow’s book brings together a mountain of high explosive materials that offer insight into the interconnectedness of financial crime, money laundering, and corrupt regimes. With a little extra effort, it could be used to prosecute some of the biggest criminals of our time, such as businessman Trump, if a culprit is found. Thunder applause turned post Double track Admittedly not.

Since his great success World collector (2006) On the life of adventurer Francis Burton, Ilya Trojanov is a well-known German-speaking author. The native Bulgarian language is the required speaker and discussion partner when it comes to issues of cross-cultural identity, or civil liberty Strength and resistance (This is the title of the 2015 novel). His books regularly received the most attention. Not so in the case Double track. In Germany, the book was properly discussed, albeit with caution, the author is not aware of a single review from Switzerland. This has been all the more surprising since the book was published in the fall of 2020 during the hot phase of the US election campaign. Is Trump’s subject exhausted? Has the Corona debate stifled the already weak features section? Or are cultural journalists bothered that the novel takes material that is otherwise dealt with in business and politics departments?

A novel about a novel

The book is remarkable in many ways. It shows two specialists doing their endless research, the Russian Boris, whose planned book on the networks between the Russian and American oligarchies is postponed, and the first-person narrator Ilya, who boycotted his report on Chinese surveillance methods. Your verses will appear at the end of the novel without us knowing their contents. A search for suspected espionage is organized against the authors, and Ilya disappears. What we do with it Double track In your hands is not the final work in and of itself, but rather an expense to create it. About the effort to direct the flow of information that the authors drown in every day and gain insights from it. Report on the difficulty of drawing correct conclusions from digital datasets, or how Ilija Trojanow did it all in one device Discussion It was formulated during the Frankfurt Book Fair 2020 to ask the right questions.

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In fact, Boris and Ilya are interested in the man in whom they disguise a little as “the Leaning Tower” and his increasing dependence on the Eastern ruler they call “Mikhail Ivanovich”. However, the flow of emails, videos, and records they indulge in is getting bigger every day. From Abyss Plunge into material on financial crime that seems to come from completely different contexts. Documents documenting the scandalous sale of state assets in the Soviet Union to party cadres and an oligarchy floating on the screen of researchers; Others documenting opaque transactions between Deutsche Bank and the KGB financial institutions; Those relating to the Jeffrey Epstein prostitute ring (who appears in the book as “Wasserstein”) along with the names of the celebrities Epstein has served. Increasingly nerds and readers are realizing that all international crime hotspots are interconnected.

Scandal results

Nothing illustrates this more than the evidence recording “delinquent or suspicious landlords / tenants” in Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue in New York. This collection is one of the most interesting documents in the book. Over the years, nearly everything in Trump’s skyscraper has been bought or rented that has made a fortune through money laundering, tax evasion, embezzlement, dark real estate deals and illegal dealings. Among them are dictators like Jean-Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier, president of Haiti from 1971 to 1986, and a Russian mafia boss or liaison officers with America’s Cosa Nostra, many of whom are personal acquaintances and friends of Donald Trump.

The material in this mixture of criminal men (including women) is straightforward, the FBI, which has been eavesdropping on many apartments in this building since 1984. The fact that the FBI saw no reason to hold the hospitable tower owner accountable is one of them. The scandalous discoveries revealed by Trojanov’s book. “The information is emerging,” notes Dr. Buchd. In his review büchertreff.deToday, mafia groups no longer operate in the states, but states are part of the mafia. Or according to the motto of Mikhail Ivanovich, adopted by Donald Trump along with other corrupt people: “Having a country is better than owning a company.”

The speaking narrator says his concern is to highlight “structural crime”, the devastating intertwining of financial and real estate empires with multinational corporations, industrial complexes, secret services, and governments. The novel Ilija Trojanov, like many authors before him, serves as a mediator in the search for truth. This not only earned him approval. Jörg Magenau says: “Trojanow is one of the few authors, who is now really old-fashioned who still believes in the truth.” deutschlandfunk.de. Would it really be true in the age of fake news that a hopelessly backward guard believed only in the truth? Is not the old guard, whose spiritual roots go back to the Enlightenment and return to ancient poets, and is distinguished by the fact that they try to get as close as possible to the truth and at the same time know that there is no such thing as absolute truth? In Trojanow’s case, the research leads to a web of hypotheses that are increasingly condensed into established facts without being formulated in an abbreviated fashion. The novel swings its edges in loose strings and free ends. What remains is a set of entanglements and entanglements from which readers must draw their own conclusions. The novel offers the same research. Her conclusion remains open. We put the book aside and we know a lot more than before. However, the truth remains in the dark.

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a novel? Search? Or both?

Trojanov set himself the bold goal of summarizing the trials and tribulations of dry research into a story. The story initially revolves around two investigative adventurers who have reached the limits of their physical potential, patience, and nerves with their project. His speed increases when Ilya meets those who leaked the material to him, a whistleblower reported from Moscow and a woman from the orbiter of the FBI, both of which remain intangible and mysteriously disappear. Other contact persons he can reach along winding paths remain mysterious, and the research takes on the character of a crime novel. When journalist Emi joins the protagonists, a love story begins. Emi appears with a bunch of cinematic podcasts on the trafficking of girls, brings a fresh topic of conversation and a copy of fresh air in the small office space. In general terms, this is all the plot the book has in store.

Whether the novel was officially successful is debatable. Jörg Magenau wrote in the aforementioned review: “as a” novel. ” Double track Not worth mentioning. ”To continue:“ As a book of revelation more than that. ”His harsh judgment ignores the fact that the text of Troy contains all the components that characterize the novel: tension, coincidence, setbacks, psychological credibility, and an amazing cycle of imagination and truth. Want more?

The author plays a particularly daring game in terms of fiction with the narrator in first person. He sets different paths that unite him and his hero. In the book Ilija bears the title Trojanow as the living Ilija, and has written articles and books written by the real Ilija. However, there are slight shifts. For example, he portrays himself as the author of “The Privatization of the Economy,” “a classic,” as he notes sarcastically, “From Contemporary History.” In fact, it’s not the work with that title, but a chapter from a non-fiction book published by the real Trojanow. The two are separated by a very thin film. To fill the level of confusion, author Trojanow likes to make this slide disappear again on readings, for example the one in Frankfurt, where he pretends it is a story about his autobiography. It fools readers in the same way that the Internet fools users in their efforts to distinguish truth from falsehood. Wobbling and waving eyes are as much a part of the narrative as the facts presented, although it does not diminish their ability to persuade. Rather, it is an invitation to the reader to get out of the space of narration and complete the facts with his own research.

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The doctor of the book quoted above concludes his book reference with the words: “If you want to take hints and guess for yourself, you should be surprised and do not read any reviews beforehand.” One likes to agree with him. A proper reception for this work, which goes to the limits of the narrative, would have served the Swiss media well.

Ilija Trojanow, Double Path. a novel. 235 Pages, S. Fischer 2020


Related interests of the author

Rudolf Bosmann was born in Olten, studied German and romance, is a poet and prose writer, and works as a translator and editor. He lives in Basel and Jura. His most recent travel article has been published, titled “Autumn in North Korea” (Rotpunkt Verlag 2021).

An external group of authors writes about media and politics under “context.” It picks up contributions from the media and contradicts for political, journalistic, content, or linguistic reasons. The group includes Bernard Bonjour, Rudolf Bosman, Sylvia Hencke, Matthias Knorr, Guy Carnetta, Alfred Schleinger, Felix Schneider, Linda Stebler, Martina Seuss, Ariane Tanner, Rudolf Walter, Christoph Weigmann, Matthias Zinder. Editors are taken care of by group members.