Zanzibar or the Last Reason
book — Germany — 1957

Amazing what pearls you can discover in a least expected place! While the biggest names in German literature usually don`t really offer something outstanding to me, it`s the less famous writers that make up for that. For example, this novel. Herman Hesse would never write something as simple as that, yet I find a book like this much more private, it speaks to me and doesn`t push me away. It`s Germany of the late 1930`s - you know the time, and if you don`t why would I explain it to you? So, there`s this little port town, Rerik is it`s name. There`s a boy who doesn`t even have a name, who is fond of Huckleberry Finn and wants just like him to run away for he finds that this little town will make him suffocate. Then there`s Knudsen - a fisherman who employs the boy, who doesn`t want to leave because of his mentally sick wife. The third local hero is Helander - a crippled priest who wants to save a statue of a young boy from the Nazis, which are bound to take it away the very next day. And two heros come from outsite - there`s Gregor - a communist who has lost his faith in the party, and Judith - a jewish girl who`s mother commited suicide so that the daugther would be able to flee to Sweden. Gregor decides that it`s his mission to persuade Knudsen to put both the girl and the statue on his boat. Without believing in anything he`s really a very righteous man. And he has luck at that. What is peculiar about the heroes - is that not one of them believes in anything: Judith doesn`t believe that she can be saved, Gregor doesn`t believe in his party, Knudsen who`s also a former communist doesn`t believe in absolutely nothing, the boy doesn`t believe that one can do like Huck nowadays, and even the priest doesn`t believe that God is good, and he hates God. But despite that they handle as if they had faith guiding them. I especially like the ending, where the priest kills one of the nazis and lets them kill him so he can have his revenge on God. And - why is Zanzibar the last reason? The boy had three reasons why to leave the town - that nothing happened in there, that the town killed his dad and he couldn`t remember about the third one for a long time, and it was, that there were places like Zanzibar in this world. The whole novel tells just one day in the life of a few people, but it`s got really much to tell.
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