I opened the window. In a little while, a taxi will stop in front of the house, and Klara will get out of the taxi with her little suitcase and look up and see me. The air is already starting to smell of snow. A crow slams its wings and makes its way through the fine snowflakes. They come from Siberia, the Urals, the Baltic Region and will gather in the Elbe Valley this year with the approaching cold. Hundreds of crocuses, along with ravens, scavengers, and jackdaws, will form huge clouds of birds vibrating above us, fringing the edges and gathering again as black specks.
KaltenburgIn his novel, the life of an ornithologist is told with birds and other people. Memories fly like birds. And as he does in all his novels, Marcel Beyer comes to terms with Germany’s history, society and suffering.
Hermann Funk knew his father’s colleague and close friend, Ludwig Kaltenburg, in the city of Posen in the 1930s; but when the coldness came between the adults, Kaltenburg was out of the child’s life and memory. Having lost his family in the Dresden bombardment in 1945, Funk encounters Kaltenburg, who returns to Democratic Germany after his dignity was restored from the Soviet Union, where he was sent as a prisoner of war. Funk, a young student, falls under the protection of Kaltenburg and starts working at the institute he founded. However, after a while, he will realize the uncertainty in Kaltenburg’s past…
No mention is made of Kaltenburg’s years in Posen in his official biography. Funk suspects the professor is a member of the Nazi Party. He suspects that he has extended his discoveries of aggression in animals to humans. That’s when childhood memories, layers of memory and experience will be activated, and Hermann will reach his own family secrets along with what Kaltenburg has been hiding.
In Kaltenburg , Marcel Beyer captures a panorama of German history from the thirties to the present. As in his previous novels, he weaves private life and historical events in such a masterful and convincing manner that the people of Germany, who saw all the disasters of the 20th century, are revealed with their loves and dramas. With his novel Kaltenburg , Marcel Beyer proves that he deserves the accolades “Explorer of Reality, Author of All Germany”.