Friday, 19 February 2010

Der kalte Engel

Today I went back to a book I first read a couple of years ago: Der kalte Engel, Horst Bosetsky, dtv galleria.

I like Krimis because of their fast pace and sharp dialogue. This one starts in the Berlin of 1949 and Bosetsky begins sketching some images of the still ruined city and the way children grew up not really knowing anything different - but even a child hardened by adversity can scream when he finds body parts in a ruined building.

The people of Berlin have always had a reputation for witty humour even in adversity. I guess it's the same in many big cities but I often think of the humour of Berlin and Glasgow being somewhat similar. Humour is part of Bosetsky's scene setting. Even on the first page he has a boy thinking of his grandfather's frequently repeated joke: "Berlin ist die Stadt der Warenhäuser - hier war'n Haus und dar war'n Haus."

In 1945 about 13 million Germans fled westward from centuries old settlements east of the present border, for instance, from places like East Prussia and the parts of Germany that were later transferred to Poland. So one of the early jokes is about Flüchtlinge.
Stehen ein Junge und ein Mädel im Kinderheim und sollen abgeseift werden. Sagt der Junge: "Ätsch, was ich unten am Bauch hängen habe, das hast du nicht." Anwortet das Mädchen:  "Nein, wir sind Flüchtlinge und haben alles zu Hause zurücklassen müssen."
Apparently Bosetsky (often known simply as -ky) based the story on a real murder which, like this book, involved the police forces of both East and West Berlin. For some further comment about this Kriminalroman take a look at the entry in This also gives links to other work by Bosetsky.

What do you like reading? It would be good to hear about your preferred reading or a particular favourite.

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