Is self-pleasure unreligioes

Löffler's readings

The plot of the new novel by Sibylle Lewitscharoff, the Stuttgart-born half-Bulgarian who lives in Berlin, is rather weird. He interweaves three types of novels: First, a main and state action, a macabre mourning convoy to transfer the urns of 19 deceased Bulgarian exiles from Stuttgart to Sofia, accompanied by surviving relatives. Second, a travel story about a tour of two sisters from Stuttgart-Degerloch through tourist Bulgaria, chauffeured by the eponymous travel guide Apostoloff. And third, a family story, at the center of which is the Bulgarian father Kristo of these two German-Bulgarian sisters, who hanged himself at the age of 43, which the younger daughter, the narrator of the novel, cannot forgive him.

Sibylle Lewitscharoff mixes the most diverse moods, storylines and narrative genres with one another: a German-Bulgarian funeral grotesque, a negative travel report in the form of a defamation of Bulgaria, a father-hatred book (which naturally contains a book of disappointed fatherly love ), a sister's jealousy book, a family reckoning, a self-exploration and self-judgment work by the first-person narrator.

An extremely jolly disgraceful mouth

Sibylle Lewitscharoff

All of this is held together by a singular and unmistakable narrative voice. The younger sister in the back seat of Apostoloff's Daihatsu speaks, an extremely jolly shameful, a verbose mocker and a talkative, funny person. She scorns and scorns, scolds and attacks, condemns, condemns and vilifies, defamed and slandered - and all of this always in a good mood, with infallible quick-wittedness and a very funny, artfully disgusting disenchantment. Nothing is safe from her sharp tongue: not the Stalinist atrocities of the defaced Black Sea coast, not the absurdities of the mourning conduct, not the memories of the family misfortune in the stuffy Stuttgart-Degerloch. Sibylle Lewitscharoff's deputy voice spares nothing and nobody, but not even himself.

Joy of faith, completely irreligious

This is very entertaining to read, even if, as you read on, you notice the author's determined will to keep the pain of family events at bay with virtuoso rhetoric. The witty Parlando, the mischievous, rather cunning and cryptic humor are supposed to cover up a grief that cannot be admitted. The fact that the author, quite incidentally, undergoes an ironically disguised, completely irreligious timbred joy of faith and assurance of salvation, is an extra bonus that makes «Apostoloff» a very peculiar reading pleasure.

Author: Sigrid Löffler

Editor: Gabriela Schaaf