Friedrich Christian Delius was born in Rome in 1943 and grew up in central Germany. He did his doctoral thesis in German studies in 1970 and subsequently worked as a book editor. Today he divides his time between the Italian capital and Berlin. Some of his best-known works are Ribbeck’s Pears (1991), The Sunday I Became World Champion (1994), The Walk from Rostock to Syracuse (1995), My Year as a Murderer (2004) and Portrait of Mother as a Young Woman (2006). Delius has won numerous awards, most recently the German Critics’ Prize, the Joseph Breitbach Prize and the Georg Büchner Prize.
WHEN THE CHINESE BUY RÜGEN, THINK OF ME
The new novel by Friedrich Christian Delius: how Chinese will Europe become?
Kassandra is being sacked at his job as a financial journalist. “Kassandra” is a nickname for this cheery economics reporter whose biggest mistake is to investigate issues for himself, rather than parroting the pronouncements of ministers and multinationals. He’s the one who, at lunch in the canteen, asks: Who is going to end up in hell for refusing for decades to implement a reasonable immigration policy?
It’s the night of his dismissal, and he carries on writing in his diary. His prose becomes more incisive and defiant. Sometimes he thinks about his 18-year-old niece. Maybe one day she’ll ask herself, “What was it like in the early 21st century when Europe fell apart?” He concentrates on the rape of Greece during the financial crisis, on the blindness for the influence of China expanding via its enormous economic power and anti-democratic ideology. Now unemployed, he wanders through the streets of Berlin and the pages of the nation’s media, listening to jazz and hearing the earthquake shaking the old world order to its foundation. After spending years in the US, Kassandra’s friend Roon wants to settle on the peaceful island of Rügen and open a GP’s surgery. Wandering the chalk hills together the two friends muse on what life will be like a century into the future, when China’s grateful leaders erect a statue to honour Angela Merkel.
Delius has written a rebellious, trenchant, highly political and clear-sighted novel.