This is a book concerning where we stand as a society, reflecting a profound puzzlement in an age in which we seem to be reeling breathlessly from one crisis to another, without grasping the underlying causes of these modern-day disasters or even making any attempt to do so. The book bears the stamp of an intellect that is both visionary and remorselessly analytical – Strauß gathers and examines those shattered fragments of the world at large that we all too often simply step over, as though WE were not part of history. "All I'm really doing is filling in the smallest of gaps that have been overlooked in the work of my favourite writers," says the author of this intensely personal prediction. "Every word I write could have come from them – my role is to notice when, every now and then, they have left a belated, posthumous insight."
This is the modus operandi of the great maverick of German letters as he sheds light, through diverse chapters of varying perspective, on religion and mythology, the present as a carelessly overlooked aspect of the past, the relationship between the sexes, the inaccessible and the inexplicable, the disregarded and the unconnected. This is a book of stories and dreams – of ideas and memories that divert the attention during a long period during which "history has stood still".
Botho Strauß ist umnachtet und zwar im besten Sinne des Wortes falls es den gibt. Die ins Dunkel gehüllte Sprache erobert sich Räume, in denen die Welt "weltet" ohne vom tagespolischen "Weltgeschehen" okkupiert zu sein. Dabei begegnet mir auch das Nicht-Verstehen als Erlebnis in einer Zeit, in der alles auf das Banalste verständlich ist.
Nein, der Mönch am Meer wendet uns nicht den Rücken zu. Er schaut nicht gerade aufs Meer, er steht seitlich, hält die rechten Hand am Kinn. Macht das einen Unterschied? Ja. – Deshalb gibt es diese Buch!