Viltotais Fausts

This is probably the best known post modern book in Latvian (or Latvian-Soviet) literature. It`s the same old story about Faustus and Mephistopheles but it has several differences. The so called Faustus is in fact a pharmacist from some minor city in Latvia, called Janis Trampelbahs, whilst Mephistopheles is a young and aspiring musician and writer who wants to get the rights for reworking a book of recipes that Trampelbahs has written lots of years ago (he wants to incorporate recipes in a book of his own and Trampelbahs` archaic style of writing suits him perfectly). When they meet Trampelbahs is sure that the servant of the Devil has come to him, so they have a deal: Cristopher Marlowe (yup, that`s the young fellas name) has to provide Trampelbahs with youth, whilest the pharmacist gives him all the rights for the cookbook. And Marlowe does return youth to the old fellow indeed (which he does by using lots of medicine), but after that everything goes a bit wrong - Faustus finds his Margareth, yet Marlowe also falls in love with her, Trampelbahs starts working for the Nazis, whilst Marlowe ends up being a bit of a leftist. Although the book has some soviet crap in it, it mostly seems to be a parody itself, like the novel is a parody of Faustus. That`s the perfect situation to quote Carl Marx: "History repeats two times. The first time as a tragedy, and the second - as a farce." The book is quite untrivial - it mixes different kinds of writing styles, incorporates recipes, jumps back and forth in time etc. I still am not sure that this is post modern literature though - it seems much closer to the modernism of E.T.A.Hoffman and (to some extent) Bulgakov. But this still is one of the best novels written by a Latvian writer.
2006-03-17
8.0
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