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Der Trafikant by Robert Seethaler
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Der Trafikant (original 2012; edition 2013)

by Robert Seethaler (Author)

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122598,704 (4.04)7
Member:timoheuer
Title:Der Trafikant
Authors:Robert Seethaler (Author)
Info:Kein & Aber (2013), Ausgabe: 21., 249 Seiten
Collections:Your library
Rating:*****
Tags:lang:de, österreich, leben, biografie, kiosk, krieg, zweiter weltkrieg, wien, belletristik, roman

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The Tobacconist by Robert Seethaler (2012)

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» See also 7 mentions

German (3)  French (1)  English (1)  All (5)
In the autumn of 1937, Franz, a country boy from the depths of the Salzkammergut, comes to the big city to work in Otto Trsnjek's newspaper kiosk (a Trafik in Austrian German) in the Währingerstraße. Just round the corner is what might well be Vienna's most famous street address, Berggasse 19, where the well-known Deppendoktor, Prof. Dr. Freud, lives. And, naturally enough, the professor himself pops in from time to time for 20 Virginias and the Neue Freie Presse. As we are all expecting, an unlikely friendship develops between the elderly Freud and our Franzl, who manages to extract a certain amount of grandfatherly advice from the great man in exchange for the occasional Hoyo de Monterrey ("...harvested by bold men and tenderly rolled by beautiful women on the sunny, fertile banks of the Rio San Juan y Martínez", as Franz has learnt).

Franz meets a girl, the political situation worsens, there is an Anschluss, Otto is arrested by the Gestapo, and various other bad things happen, also more or less as we would expect. What we perhaps don't quite expect so much is the cleverly indirect way that Franz's talks with Freud lead him to discover more about himself, and incidentally to come up with an ingenious marketing strategy exploiting the subconscious to get customers into the shop...

An entertaining, competent and intelligent historical novel, with some nice bits of descriptive writing and a few really good scenes, but let down by a rather too predictable plot and a little bit of clumsiness in balancing the different threads of the plot. And at least one puzzling anachronism (in a newspaper report that's only relevant to the story as background colour, Hitler, in early 1938, is said to be inspecting an Atombunker). Worth a look, probably, but all routine stuff compared to Ein ganzes Leben. ( )
  thorold | Oct 15, 2016 |
Seethaler blends tragedy and whimsy to create a bittersweet picture of youthful ideals getting clobbered by external forces.
 
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An einem Sonntag im Spätsommer des Jahres 1937 zog ein ungewöhnlich heftiges Gewitter über das Salzkammergut, das dem bislang eher ereignislos vor sich hin tröpfelnden Leben Franz Huchels eine ebenso jähe wie folgenschwere Wendung geben sollte.
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"Das Leben ist halt kein Märchen, Freunderl - aber irgendwann ist sowieso alles vorbei!"
"Das ist nichts Außergewöhnliches. Von der Liebe versteht nämlich niemand irgendetwas."
"Nicht einmal Sie?"
"Gerade ich nicht!"
"Aber warum verlieben sich dann alle Leute und ständig und überall?"
"Junger Mann" sagte Freud und hielt an. "Man muss das Wasser nicht verstehen,  um kopfvoran hineinzuspringen!"
"Mit Frauen ist es wie mit Zigarren: Wenn man zu fest an ihnen zieht, verweigern sie einem den Genuss. Ich wünsche einen angenehmen Tag!"
"Diese junge Dame hat dich also sitzen lassen", murmelte er vor sich hin. "So weit die Fakten. Meiner Ansicht nach hast Du jetzt genau zwei Möglichkeiten. Möglichkeit Nummer eins: Hol sie dir zurück! Möglichkeit Nummer zwei: Vergiss sie!"
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