When Heimweh strikes, I like to read books about the region I was born in. Also, I like reading books about this region when I’m as far away as possible, because then I get the feeling it is actually a nice place to live in. Now that I am in Bogota for almost two months, I have had plenty of time to finish this jewel from Saša Stanišić: Vor dem Fest (btb, 2015). I am not entirely sure there was story to tell here, but want to mention that the writing is very beautiful. I am most of the time more interested in how things are told, than what is told, and I am thrilled with this one because the author manages to combine very different styles and perspectives into a portrait of a village in north eastern Germany, its people, its history, and even its animals. Especially the first three quarters are also unexplainably suspenseful, and the last page might appear abruptely. I really liked the character developments, and found many familiar types and stories. Further than that, I think it’s a very solid portrait of the ties and connections of a small town in this region, with many unspoken and unforgotten conflicts.
How did I come across the book?
It was among a pile I bought with a gift voucher, and the only one in German. The author seems quite acclaimed. I have made good experiences with trusting books that won prices, and so I thought I give it a try. But I don’t remember the exact recommendation.
When and where did I read it?
As I said, I like to read books on my home region as far away as possible. The fitting title “Before the Feast” was reason enough to start it before Christmas, even though the feast from the book takes place in summer.