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Book Title: Hausaufgaben|
The author of the book: Jakob Arjouni
ISBN 13: 9783257235043
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 24.37 MB
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Loaded: 1705 times
Reader ratings: 5.6
Date of issue: December 2005
Read full description of the books:
Arjouni, Jakob, Hausaufgaben, Diogenes: Zürich 2004, 188 pp.
Joachim Linde teaches German at a grammar school near Frankfurt. One of his cur¬rent courses is entitled «German post-war authors and their discussion of the Third Reich». After twenty years of teaching Linde’s commitment to the job is not as big as his need to draw satisfaction from the way he is perceived by students and col¬leagues. The lack of understanding and appreciation he suffers at home is clearly an issue here. His wife Ingrid is a manic depressive, currently in a clinic. His daugh¬ter Martina has run away to Milan six months after an apparently serious suicide-attempt. This issue here seems to be that Martina feels she was ap¬proached/abused by her father on a camping trip to southern France several years before. Linde’s son Pablo is an Amnesty International activist and an unlikeable moralist with very clear and undifferentiated views on Israel. All the Linde’s are clearly pro-Palestinian and completely anti-Israel and this of course is where the two strands – Linde’s teaching and Linde’s family – tie into each other.
This link is never belaboured and yet Arjouni’s book – intelligent, well-written and thrilling at the same time – makes it quite clear that what needs to be done in both cases, and probably in any case of Vergangenheitsbewältigung, is the «homework» of the cleverly chosen title. None of the Linde family are in a fit state to do this homework: Martina sends her Milan boyfriend north to fetch her things, Ingrid is in an institution, Pablo is a bigot weakling (who lectures on morally very high ground on political correctness, yet goes to porn-shops in Darmstadt) and Linde himself is in the very process of running away, of going on a three-day hike around Branden¬burg as the story opens.
The protagonist is not likeable and there are clearly reasons why he has estranged himself from just about everyone during the course of his failed adult life. At one point he states that only the school director, a former close friend, is any form of close relation. Martina refuses to see him, Ingrid has nothing but snide remarks for him and in the end, Pablo attacks him physically. In the very first scene of the no¬vel, describing a class-room discussion on German guilt and whether all Germans are still held responsible by the outside world, we are shown what it is that makes it hard to like this man. First of all, there is his constant need to prove his intel¬lec¬tual worth by pseudo-cleverly changing the meaning of words, by producing com¬plicated word-play (at a later stage he coins the term «Verisraelendung» - linking Israel and «Verelendung» [impoverishment:]). It be¬comes even less possible to name things properly, to call a spade a spade, if one chooses to shape words to ones own whims. But then, this is the Linde modus oper¬andi: shaping words, his children, his students, the world – and history to his own tastes and to his own sense of what’s what.
Hausaufgaben is that rare find: An intelligent and important book which is also a page-turner. The flaws are few and far between. The descriptions of the grammar school from the inside seem to be those of an insider, even if the reactions of some of the students seem to be overly mature. (Alex’s cutting down of his teacher in front of the class, for example, is clearly Arjouni’s, not that of a mediocre stu¬dent.)
(Spoiler-alert) Finally, the sins of the father are visited upon the son with a venge¬ance and the sins of that first lecture we observed are visited on the teacher, when he, the old 60s leftie, is accused of anti-semitism by one of his students’ mother. Also, Ingrid finds access to a computer in the clinic and sends an e-mail to all his colleagues to say that Linde has abused his daughter. In a final conference where Linde explains himself in front of his colleagues and regains their respect by twist¬ing more than mere words we see all the skills this one German post-war man ap¬plies to avoid doing his homework. When an innocent sports teacher justly points out that Linde’s carefully crafted and emotionally delivered speech has not actu¬ally dealt with one of the issues at hand, he is silenced by the outraged colleagues who clearly feel that the man Linde has suffered enough…
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Read information about the authorJakob Arjouni (alias of Jakob Bothe) published his first novel Happy Birthday, Türke! (1985) at the age of 20.Later he wrote his first play Die Garagen. He became famous after publishing his criminal novel Kayankaya, which was then translated into 10 different languages.
In 1987, he received the Baden-Württembergischen Autorenpreis für das deutschsprachige Jugendtheater for his play Nazim schiebt ab. In 1992, he received the German Crime Fiction Prize for One Man, One Murder. He died, aged 48, in Berlin, after a long fight against pancreatic cancer.
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