Eagles and Angels 
Monday, 06 .June, 2005, 19:27 - English Entries, Literature

During the flights to and from Canada and the stay in Quebec I read the German version of Eagles and Angels (German edition: Adler und Engel) of Juli Zeh

It is hard to judge this book. Juli Zeh is a German writer and she for sure has the most poetic language that I have read in any modern German book. The book is never anything like boring - it is a crime and a brutal love story (nothing romantic for sure), it is the European version of a drug delirium report and the disillusioned selfexamination of a man willing to die but not knowing how to do. Yes, it is not exactly a funny story - you better read Harry Potter if you dislike the thought that people on the edge do really exist in your country.

Zehs language, as already said, is pure gold. She puts sentences, paragraphs, chapters one after the other and every metaphor hits right into the back of the brain, makes it impossible not to listen further to the words. One could say this is brilliant, that is for sure right, but most of all this is new and daring. This is a tongue never tried for such purposes.

The characters are all described with the care that they need, because they are all maniacs, drug addicts, self-centred and mentally ill. The perfect community for a good read. Frustration about life and society drops from every page, mixes with Zehs sarcastic humor and the few true feelings that are left for overfed and bored-to-death consumers.

I do not know how Juli Zeh (22 years old) found out about the lightless depths of a middle-aged mans mind. Her descriptions of the main characters thoughts are in many places well-known to me. It makes me afraid to see that a mans mind seems to be so obvious to a 22 year old woman.

But this is where the fascination is in this book: in the words and the personalities. The story is good, but the more it comes to an end it seems constructed. The whole case has one or two coincidences too many, the bigger background picture just seems too unrealistic. The story leapes over the beautiful frame of the book and leaves a strange taste.

Nevertheless a book for sure worth reading. If it would not be summer, it would get 10 out of 10 points, as it is so beautifully depressed. But the temperatures are over zero, so I am only able to give 8 out of 10.

And for those of you who know and love Vienna I especially recommend this book. The bigger part of it is settled in the Austrian capital. There are sentences that describe the city better than anything read or heard up till now. One example may be allowed "The city lay flat like a person awaiting death from fever, without movement, dryed out, halluzinating under the surface" (see German edition, page 97, last paragraph).

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