Der Ferne Klang (The Far-Away Sound)

Gert Jonke
Gert Jonke - Der ferne Klang


A young man – obviously the composer from Jonke’s novel Schule der Geläufigkeit (The School of Fluency) – wakes up one morning not in his usual room, but in a hospital room, without knowing why. The explanation he is given, that he had tried to commit suicide at home the night before by taking an overdose of pills, remains an incredible impertinence to him, as he has no such recollection. Since he has also quite suddenly fallen in love with a ravishingly beautiful hospital employee who suddenly disappears, he escapes from the hospital to find her, hoping to encounter an explanation for his own mysterious case somewhere and somehow. This is the beginning of an eventful odyssey culminating in an orgiastic street fair and ending in one final surprise, and ultimately in the observation of a lonely and euphoric twilight.

That is one thing. The other is Jonke’s language. He enjoys using the comical potential of a complex syntax with inventiveness; existential and artistic elements balance each other out. Beyond that, however, his writing regularly features passages of such incredible poetry that it takes one’s breath away.