By Adolf Muschg

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Zone

Translated through Charlotte Mandell

Francis Servain Mirkovic, a French-born Croat who has been operating for the French Intelligence providers for fifteen years, is touring by way of teach from Milan to Rome. He’s wearing a briefcase whose contents he’s promoting to a consultant from the Vatican; the briefcase encompasses a wealth of data in regards to the violent heritage of the Zone—the lands of the Mediterranean basin, Spain, Algeria, Lebanon, Italy, that experience turn into Mirkovic’s specialty.

Over the process a unmarried evening, Mirkovic visits the websites of those tragedies in his reminiscence and recollects the wear that his personal participation in that violence—as a soldier scuffling with for Croatia through the Balkan Wars—has wreaked in his personal existence. Mirkovic hopes that tonight can be his final within the region, that this trip will expiate his sins, and that he can disappear with Sashka, the single girl he hasn’t deserted, eternally . . .

One of the actually unique books of the decade—and written as a unmarried, hypnotic, propulsive, bodily impossible to resist sentence—Mathias Énard’s quarter presents a rare and panoramic view of the turmoil that has lengthy deviled the beaches of the Mediterranean.

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Ich setzte mich ans Steuer, berührte den Schlüssel, drehte ihn nicht. Nein, sagte ich. – Der Motor springt nicht an. Aber er lief doch grade noch? Der Anlasser ist kaputt. Ich hab's dir am Telefon erklärt. Dann bleibst du eben stehen, wo du bist. Ich dachte nach, lächerlich gemacht durch dieses Fahrzeug, das meine Aufmerksamkeit erzwang. Und doch war ich heimlich dankbar. Das Auto hatte das Gewicht einer Sache, wir brauchten nicht gleich von uns zu reden. Ich muß mich so hinstellen, daß ich morgen anrollen kann.

Das Haus hier mit den Ferienerinnerungen der Kinderzeit. Fürs erste ganz gut. Das Haus war nahe herangekommen. Ein Klötzchen hinter einem hohen, schon dürren Lebhag, in den ein Tor hineingeschnitten war. Eine zwergenhafte Holztür gab es auch, daneben tickte die Batterie des Kuhdrahtes. »Zaunkönig« stand darauf. Im Vorgärtchen waren Blumen zu ahnen, immer noch gepflegt, das Licht auf der Veranda brannte für einen Gast und doch wie für sich allein. Die dunkle Holzfarbe, Öl, schien das Licht abzustoßen.

Was war los, daß ich hinter einem Lastzug herkroch, ohne ans Überholen zu denken? Der Nebel hemmte den Schuh auf dem Gas; das Undurchsichtige zwischen den Buchenstämmen, die die Straße, den Waldweg, wie Palisaden begleiteten, rührte sich nicht, dichtete auch die linke, die Talseite ab, wo der Blick hätte frei sein müssen 55 auf Stadt, See, offenes Land. Ich starrte auf das Gelblicht, mit dem der dröhnende Transport vor mir seine Schwerfälligkeit anzeigte. Er schleppte einen Kran, und ich trödelte im zweiten Gang hinterher.

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