Ulrich Peltzer (born 1956) is one of the most famous of contemporary writers in Germany. A student of
philosophy and social psychology, he is now (according to wikipedia) a full-time author.
His first novel Teil der Lösung, translated in English as Part of the Solution begins in the summer of 2003. The bright sunny weather is ideal for falling in love and his protagonist, Christian Eich, does just that. A man
in his mid-thirties, a free-lance journalist and an aspiring novelist, Christian, has become deeply interested in
former members of the Italian “Red Brigades”, who after living in France for thirty years are now suddenly to be expelled. While researching for the topic and trying desperately to be in touch with the (former) members of the movement, he repeatedly runs into Nele, a young research scholar working under Professor Jacob who is a friend and former batch-mate of Christian. As the two grow closer, Christian asks Nele to translate certain articles from Italian newspapers. Unknown to him, Nele belongs to an ultra-left group who resist the increasing control and surveillance of all spheres of life by state and commercial institutions. Their actions are militant and unknown to them the state is spying on them, having planted a mole in their midst.
The two young people come close but as Christian’s project takes him to the erstwhile GDR and France, Nele starts feeling that Christian too merely wants to meet the members of the brigade as it’d make a good copy which he could then sell to the highest bidder. Will the differences in their views be too great to bridge?
This was for me a difficult text to read as the narrative style was confusing. There are abrupt switches from one character to another and it gets difficult to guess who is speaking or whose thoughts we are ‘hearing’. But there were certain lines that I loved:
Two lives linked by nothing more except a flashback which day by day grew more blurred (291)
But to bow to the lies of the victors would be a betrayal of history. Not only one’s own. (401)
First Line: The man’s silhouette stands out clearly against the screens.
Title: Part of the Solution
Original Title: Teil der Lösung
Original Language: German
Author: Ulrich Peltzer
Translator: Martin Chalmers
Publication Details: Calcutta: Seagull, 2011
First Published: 2007
Source: MCL [833 P368P C.1]
Other books read of the same author: None