Item description for Eros by Mike Mitchell Helmut Krausser...
A"Compelling, historical, poetical, sensitive, eroticA-this wonderful novel is all this and much more.A"A-Express
Alexander von BrAcken, a reclusive millionaire with an enigmatic past, invites an unnamed writer to stay in his mansion and ghostwrite his autobiography. The writer will be well paid for his efforts, and literary fame is virtually guaranteed; von BrAckenA's only stipulation is that the book not be published until after his death. But could the story he recountsA-a tale of greed, fanaticism, and erotic obsessionA-be little more than a dazzling fabrication, the bitter fruit of unrequited love? The play of truth and fiction combine with fine storytelling in this novel about the dangerous games that Eros plays with us.
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Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 8.19" Width: 5.36" Height: 0.99" Weight: 0.76 lbs.
Release Date Aug 26, 2008
Publisher Europa Editions
ISBN 1933372583 ISBN13 9781933372587
"but the publication of the crime, the disclosure of a wrong, will, I feel at least reduce the crime." Sep 7, 2008
In the intriguing novel "Eros" by Helmut Krausser, a novelist whose "life is in ruins" is summoned to Owl's Nest, the Bavarian neo-gothic style home of the elderly reclusive millionaire, Alexander von Brucken. Last seen in public over twenty years earlier, von Brucken's life is swathed in mystery. Von Brucken, who is dying, tells the novelist that he wants to commission him to write "the story of a love, my love." The millionaire wants the writer to create a novel using audiotapes of his memories along with available documentation insisting that "something that is written down has, in a certain way, happened, it's my way of making something very secret public."
Fascinated, the writer agrees to the conditions outlined by von Brucken, and over the course of the next eight days, the dying millionaire relays a fantastic story of obsessive love, unrequited passion, and unimaginable power while the author sits and listens, taking notes and asking questions.
Von Brucken's story begins in his youth in WWII when as an innocent youth he fell passionately in love with a local working class girl named Sofie. Alexander's wealthy family live in a villa in the north of Munich, and his father, an idealist who operates a number of metal processing factories doesn't completely swallow Nazi ideology, but he's nonetheless impressed by their successes. Alexander remembers his father as a man who "tolerated the Nazis" and who failed miserably in the war effort.
Von Brucken's remarkable tale of survival continues through the Munich bombings, the end of WWII, and the rise of industrialist Germany. Growing more and more eccentric, von Brucken refuses to accept that his love for Sofie is not reciprocated. Using limitless power and wealth, von Brucken's tale details how he protected Sofie from a brutal lover and her Marxist-Leninist activities.
"Eros" is a marvelous tale that charts the history of modern Germany through von Brucken's obsessive love for a woman who dismisses his attentions. Included in von Brucken's tale: the excesses of the Springer Press, the "economic miracle" of the 'new' Germany, the rise of Red Army Faction, the murder of Benno Ohnesorg, the June 2 Movement, the suicide of Ulrike Meinhof, the murder of industrialist Hans Martin Schleyer in the "German Autumn" of 1977, and the subsequent state-conducted murders of members of the imprisoned Red Army Faction in Stammheim Prison.
One of the more fascinating aspects of this riveting tale is that author Helmut Krausser even explores the Stasi connection to West German Marxist-Leninist revolutionary groups, and this is a subject also scrutinized in Volker Schlondorff's film, "The Legend of Rita." Both the film and the novel examine the idea that Marxist-Leninist groups, while ideologically based, were sometimes funded by East Germany--although it seems likely that not all Marxist-Leninists groups understood who was pulling the strings. Certainly the RAF seemed to have established their own mechanisms of funding through a series of bank robberies, but in "Eros" Sofie discovers--the hard way--that Communist East Germany is the puppet master for some of her more violent, subversive activities.
"Eros" is a wonderful tale, and part of the enjoyment of this story comes in the hints we are given that von Brucken may very well be an unreliable narrator. After all we only have his version of events, and while he had limitless power and money, and could very well have engineered everything described in these pages, why is the proposed book some sort of expiation for his sins? Why does von Brucken hope that the publication of the novel will somehow "reduce the crime?" Some aspects of von Brucken's tale simply do not add up--at one moment, he insists his father was not a Nazi, but was a victim of Nazi drive and ideology. Yet soon thereafter, von Brucken acknowledges that his parents did not wish to remain alive in a Germany that did not contain their Fuehrer. That mindset, of course, reflects the same mindset as Goebbels and his wife. But at the same time, von Brucken's description of his father--his obsession with architectural aesthetics, his dabbling in amateur architecture through the designs of new buildings, and his acquisition of art are all eerily similar to descriptions of Hitler.
The novel thus also functions on a symbolic level. Von Brucken could very well represent Germany's post WWII economic miracle and Sofie could represent the dissatisfied youth--all too aware the fascist forces still operate within the country. At this symbolic level, their doomed romance could also represent a fractured Germany and a failure to successfully unite until after the collapse of the Berlin Wall when their relationship morphs into a heroic rescue of sorts. Do von Brucken's unwelcome attentions to Sofie represent the tumultuous relationships of the left and right wing portions of post WWII Germany? Von Brucken's limitless power results in efforts to monitor and 'protect' Sofie, and these actions may, after all, have thrown her right into the jaws of Communist East Germany. With all of these intriguing possibilities in my head, I reluctantly closed the book's cover, but I am convinced I will reread this wonderful novel soon.