A Friend
book — Germany — 1998

Amazing isn`t it - to read a book that has been written buy a person only less than ten years older than you (if you`re 20 and not 65 that is). And Arjouni is just the guy. It seems that he`s mainly writting some detective crap, but this book can wisely balance on the right side of the mud puddle where such authors occasionally fall. The title story "A friend", for example, is a beautiful tale about a hitchhiker who gets a ride from a theatre director who needs a person to immitate being his friend for a weekend. It turns out that Archie (that`s his name) isn`t the only acting person at the party, and even when he believes that he actually has achieved some sort of friendship with his supposed friend (I don`t mean "friend" in the sexual way), it`s nothing but acting in the reality. The story "The inner" is a strange tale how a man is taken hostage at a bank robbery and he develops the so called Stockholm syndrom in him but still kills the bank robber in the end. And there`s another nice story about a family that illegally keeps an undertendant from abroad and gets awarded for it, despite how bad they treat him. And "In peace" tells the story of a rich city guy starting a country life. But the two other stories are not that good - "The Black series" is the usual gangster stuff we get in the second hand literature nowadays, while "Visit of the pope" makes no sense. If there had been only the four best stories it would have been a great book, but so it is just ok.
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