Literary summer begins with a true story

literary summer
Neos opened the festival with its first appearance

Literary summer has begun in Neuss. Tobias Friedrich dedicates himself in “The Ringed Plover” to an unknown adventurer. This piqued listeners’ curiosity: What does the confusion between fact and fiction look like?

Shortly before the sea, Tobias Friedrich stopped reading. of all things. Because listeners at the City Library Hall are eager to learn more. They want to know how adventurer Oscar Speck fared in his collapsible boat – now that he’s left the river lanes behind and the sea ahead. Now visitors can buy The Little Plover for themselves—or, as Helga Schwartz of Neuss City Library adds with a smile, put themselves on the waiting list to borrow the novel.

But first things first: The 23rd edition of Neuss Literary Summer began with a novel: “Der Ringblower” is the first literary work of Tobias Friedrich, who had previously written non-fiction books or music for his bands. “We are very happy to be able to begin with the first demarcation,” said Claudia Buchel, head of the city library. All five of Neuss readings for the festival series will take place there this year: the program also includes a children’s book, a nonfiction book with The Three Not Existent and De Maursegler’s entertaining and thoughtful text. But it began on Wednesday evening with a novel based on a true story.

During his non-fiction search, Tobias Friedrich came across adventurer Oscar Speck, who remains largely unknown to this day. In doing so, he unveiled an interesting life story: Speck, as Friedrich explains in the introduction, actually lives in Hamburg. After the global economic crisis, he had to give up his job as a self-employed professional electrician. When he read in a newspaper that there was work in a copper mine in Cyprus, an idea occurred to him: the year 1932 when Speck packed his luggage and grabbed his folding boat that his sister had given him. He collects his last savings together to travel to Ulm by train. From there he would like to row his foldable boat to Cyprus.

Friedrich begins to read, letting beautiful landscapes, vineyards, meadows and flower fields pass over the protagonist. With the steady rhythm of rowing, Speck has time to think: he thinks of his family, who said goodbye to him quietly, of his girlfriend Licelot, who reminds him not to forget “come back.” On his journey, Speck repeatedly meets people who enrich him. One of them calls it the “Ringed Plover,” which is also the name of a bird not considered particularly social. Others see Speck’s plan as “crazy”.

The reaction of the audience in the city library hall was similarly surprised when the author announced that Speck not only blasphemed to Cyprus, but also eventually went to Australia – while the National Socialists of Germany even wanted to make a national hero out of him. However, the audience doesn’t learn much about this while reading, the author only provides passages from the first part of the book – just enough to spark enough curiosity for the rest of the book. The plot is especially exciting and at the same time incredible because it is based on a real event. In this regard, the audience also has some questions for the writer, who says that half of all the characters are real, and the other half are fictional.

In the process of writing – Friedrich had an idea for his novel in 2008 – he got confused as to which syllables were true and which were fictional. The search was extensive. He read a few things online, but then went to an Australian museum that runs a large estate for Oscar Speck. He was allowed access to it, and he also read the diary that Speck kept. In it, he described only the first third of his journey in particularly great detail. And so the audience takes with them one thing after reading: the enrichment of knowledge that there was once an adventurer on an avalanche boat in Oscar Speck.

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