Thursday, August 09, 2012

God, death, and atheism

Brenner and God
I read Brenner and God, by Wolf Haas, earlier this summer and thoroughly enjoyed the story and the fresh manner of its telling (see my review).

A Q&A with the book's translator on the publisher's website offers some insight into the author's style:

What constitutes good style has been drummed into us to such an extent that, as good readers, we still bristle when a writer upsets those ingrained ideas. And what I see Wolf Haas doing is prying open this chasm between, on the one hand, how language behaves, and on the other, how language is enforced — and then letting his reader fall right in.

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Death in Breslau
I don't recall how I first came across the series of Eberhard Mock investigations by Marek Krajewski, but they're among the most curious mysteries I've ever read.

Melville House Publishing is set to release the first novel, Death in Breslau, in September.

The first three books in this series were previously released by Quercus Publishing — and I've written a bit about them here (Death in Breslau, The End of the World in Breslau, Phantoms in Breslau) — but I'm pleased that Melville House will be making (at least) the first book available to a whole new audience, even while I'm trying to get my hands on the fourth: The Minotaur's Head.

Set in interwar Breslau (now Wrocław), these books offer a weird view on a society that is a historical and cultural mix of German, Polish, and Jewish. Nostalgic for the past, that society is shown to be perverted and corrupted and completely hypocritical in its drive to be modern and free-thinking. I enjoyed the first book particularly for how the police investigation was shown to be conducted amid inquiries regarding internal affairs and with a hovering Gestapo presence. Dark and original.

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Shoes for atheists
At long last, atheists have their own shoes — atheists have soles too!

These shoes started off as a Kickstarter project. They look well-crafted and divinely comfortable. And they have a sense of humour — a black hole for a logo and a sole stamped with a message.

I haven't decided which colour I want, but I love the write-up for the literarily inspired "Nabokov cream":

Is there anything more beautiful in life than the pure, sweet, wondrous innocence of an unblemished, open and untainted soul?

Yes... the delightful process of getting that sole so fucking filthily dirty, and soiling its purity with so much titiliating sin and hedonistic whoredom that it can scarcely remember what colour it was to begin with.

This creamy, ivory, blank canvas of a shoeling is resplendent in her off-white milky maidenhood... but not for long, the little nymph, for you will introduce her to the real world... blemishing and sullying her with every step you take.

You're about to make a grown-up of this shoe.

The website as a whole is a cheeky bit of atheism-awareness, which maybe the world could use a little bit more of. And I could use some new shoes.
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