Bookseller Kirchseeon provides source material for Thriller – Ebersberg

“I like what I see. The floor-to-ceiling wooden shelves that line the walls. Two brick columns that support the vaulted ceiling.” This is how the first-person narrator Eric describes the bookstore he has just taken over on page 15. Author Petra Johan searched for appropriate inspiration for setting up her film “The Book Dealer” in the county of Ebersberg, namely in the Hedwig Wobken Library in Kirchseeon.

When the phone rang in 2019, there was goosebumps specialist Johann on the other end of the line, who was still living in Grafing at the time and wanted to gather background information for her new book. As a mathematician with a PhD, she said in an interview with the Süddeutsche Zeitung at the time, that originality is very important to her, which is why she is always looking for dialogue partners from the profession in question.

“She did a good job with the vibe,” Wobken laughs. The novel also adds to the atmosphere of a bookstore in a small Bavarian town, because “for many of my clients, old and especially young, this is the most beautiful place in Kirchschion”. But this is where the parallels between fact and fiction end, especially, of course, regarding plot details.

The setting in the novel seems poetic – at least at first glance

At the center of the story is a man in his mid-thirties who, after a personal drama and a failed relationship, turns his life upside down, and also changes his place of residence and work. His library was doing well and he soon became a member of the local volleyball club, along with most of the residents of a suburban settlement. They become friends, but it soon becomes clear that even in this seemingly idyllic situation, family relationships are not entirely tension-free.

There’s the teacher, the elderly surf coach, who is separated from his perfectly groomed wife, who never misses an opportunity for small or big grudges, and who also loves to accuse his ex of neglecting their daughter. On the other hand, a tax officer who lives next door and her IT husband are having problems with their 16-year-old teenage daughter. The only person–aside from a little brother who suffered a fit of fate–who seems to be enjoying everything right is a carpenter and CSU city councilman, who is loved by everyone, has a moulting son, a “fairy-like” wife, and my daughter.

But when a kid isn’t around one morning, many facades crumble and gruesome truths come to light. This also applies to the bookseller, who is no longer targeted only by commissioners of inquiry…

At the beginning of the quest, the fate of the character was still not completely clear

The figure, for which Kirchseeon’s Wobken provided the basic framework, is by no means undisputed. But for the bookseller, that’s perfectly fine: “I still remember exactly how Mrs. Johan said during our conversation that she was still at first, and therefore could not say at this point how she would immortalize the bookseller – whether she was murdered or slain.” , one feels very satisfied with being there during the development process, especially since Johann’s story is generally very coherent and has “some caliber”. Another point that Hedwig Wobken makes: “It’s also crazy how you describe so many people, that you have a good idea of ​​the types.”

Writer Petra Johan found inspiration for this thriller at a store in Kirchcheon.

(Photo: Verlag Rütten und Loening / Oh)

You can only agree with her, because the incredibly wide cast of this thriller, stunning from the first page, includes not only the residents of the fictional town of Neukirchen of 10,000 residents, but also those who are supposed to make the case. Three women stand out in particular: the chief inspector who only wanted to do office duty at her request and was even taken from a funeral home for investigation. Her classmate, due to his own experiences of bullying in her youth, knows what people can do to others. And a dog trainer may seem boisterous and overbearing at first glance, but he has a lot in the box.

Conclusion: The page flipper is totally worth reading

The way these three women do everything they can to find the baby and make the case clear, while not being personally involved, is fantastic cinema and well worth the read to the sudden end. Hedwig Wobken fully agrees with this.

But what about this question in one of the novel’s first scenes? A curious ten-year-old wants to know from the bookseller shortly after he takes over the business: “How many books are there in this store?” Can the owner of Kirchson Library answer this question right away? “In the meantime, yes,” smiles Wobkin, who will soon celebrate her fifth anniversary in her shop. Next to “Which book has the most pages?” This is one of the typical questions for children. Of course, you can only find out the exact number of books after the inventory. And how many are there? “About 3200”, replies the seller. By the way, most sites will have a dictionary and a Bible.

Petra Johan: The bookseller. Rütten & Loening, Berlin 2022. 431 pages, €16.99.

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