Netherlands (Signatuur), Denmark (Tiderne Skifter), Lithuania (Gimtasis Zodis), France (Pont 9)
If you don't ask to be born, Wilbur reasons, you should be allowed to go back where you came from. Rolf Lappert tells the story of a man who, in refusing life, learns how to live. A wonderful novel, both comical and profound.
Wilbur would like to be as tough and unbreakable as Bruce Willis, but it's not so easy when you're only five feet tall. And he is not exactly born under a lucky star either. His Irish mother dies in childbirth, and his Swedish father disappears. Wilbur himself is too small for a newborn and his first home is an incubator. The second, his grandparents' house in Ireland, gives at least a hint of what a home might be. But when his best friend is confined to a reform school and his grandmother Orla dies in an accident, Wilbur determines that he is and forever will be a loser. The charming Aimee has a different message for him: Wilbur is just as lucky as anybody else – if only he would open his eyes…
Wilbur, the likeable, misanthropic hero of Rolf Lappert's novel, needs half a lifetime to grow up and realize that you cannot run from happiness. We follow him to America, Ireland and Sweden in search of his long-lost father, and we see him stagger amid a tableau of eccentric yet all-too-human companions. Lappert's portrait of a boy losing all faith in the world will captivate readers with its colourful characters, its wealth of settings and situations – and, most of all, with its compelling humour. A great novel on the problems of growing up and finding yourself.
"What a brave book – and what a big hit! A novel written with enormous narrative generosity: forceful, powerfully told and very well invented." (Neue Zürcher Zeitung)
Fesselnd, grossartig, fantasiereich, hinreissend erzählt – alles was eine gute Geschichte haben muss! John Irving hätte seine Freude daran.