Clemens J. Setz: Die Frequenzen [Frequencies]

The latest addition to my website is Clemens J. Setz‘s Die Frequenzen [Frequencies], Setz, from Graz in Austria, wrote this huge novel (over 700 pages) when he was twenty-seven and has produced a monster of novel. It is haphazard and chaotic and that can be annoying but is also part of its charm, as it illustrates the chaotic lives of the characters. The main two are Walter Zmal and Alex Kerfuchs. Walter is the son of a successful architect. His father is always helping get him a position – assistant film director, journalist and so on, and Walter fails at all of them, as he more or less fails in his relationships, both homosexual and heterosexual. Alex’s father walked out on him and his mother when he was younger and this has had an effect on him. He now works in an old people’s home and has a variety of relationships, including one of the nurses and a much older therapist, who acts as a focal point for several of the characters. The paths of Walter and Alex cross and uncross throughout the book. From Gabi, who has tinnitus (the frequencies of the title) to Alex’s strange landlord Wilhelm Steiner, from Walter’s and Alex’s various peculiar lovers to Uljana, the dog who spends the book wandering the streets of Graz, we meet a host of characters who, frankly, are not quite in tune with the world. It is an ambitious and impressive novel, even if in need of some editing, but sadly not available in English.

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