In Botho Strauss's new book, stories converge kaleidoscopically, in strong contrasts and startling mutations of shape and colour. One small turn, a subtle change of perspective, and the world disintegrates and reassembles itself. Strauss is a master in detecting the small shifts and major rifts between human beings, the magnetic forces of love, and the laws of desire. The strengths and weaknesses of lovers, too adept or too clumsy in dealing with the interplay of emotions, are the topics of his probing narrative. Scenes of the heart, enacted on the borders of trance and reality, are transformed into shadow plays of violence and brutality. Strauss's sensual-spiritual exercises comprise a powerful corollary to the hubbub of voices that they describe. In his portrayals of the misery of love, narrative art triumphs over the parody of everyday reality.
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