Norbert Scheuer’s Motabor: The Sign of the Flood – Culture

When a flood disaster hit Germany last year, Cale in Eifel was one of the hardest hit communities; Cal noted that writer Norbert Scheuer, who lives here in the Keldenwich area, has turned into a wonderful literary place.

He has recently proven himself a prophet. In his 2017 novel At the Bottom of the Universe, a dam collapsed and a “brown tsunami” swallowed Kall.

Basically, “Developer” is Scheuer’s new novel coming out these days (CH Beck Verlag, 192 pages, 22 €) Continuing at the bottom of the universe, reacting to the true Flood. But this novel is very similar to the second part of the diptych, as side and counterpart.

Gray Heads, the story-telling choir from Kall, to which the 70-year-old Scheuer also belongs, sits in the “Mutabor” as always in the supermarket cafeteria next to the train tracks and learns about all the stories and events from Kall and the surrounding area.

Scheuer blends time, space, reality and imagination

They watch their new cars, paid for by the insurance company, and also come and go to the refurbished supermarket premises, and talk about what happened: “The blame for their losses, for the drowning of so many people, for ruined livelihoods, for the devastation, in short, for the decay of Cal and Orvetland they only give For Caspari and Raymond Molitor, they all agree on it for once.”

Caspary and Raimund Molitor are characters from “At the Bottom of the Universe”, one a construction contractor and the other a deputy manager of a local bank. They wanted to turn Kall into a tourist paradise with a large reservoir and holiday park, and then the dam had just broken. Motabor takes place at the time of the 2017 novel and after, in the present, and once again Norbert Scheuer mixes reality with fiction, between times and spaces.

As in “At the Bottom of the Universe”, the main characters are Sophia Molitor, the mother of Raymond Molitor, and above all, as the first-person narrator, the young Nina Plession, who, for good reason, no longer has a last name .
Nina grew up without parents, so her mother ran away early and left her with her grandparents. She delivers newspapers, takes care of Paul Arimond, who has returned from Afghanistan with serious injuries, works at the Evros pub and suffers from epileptic fits, as well as his visual uncle, Alexia: she can write, but she can’t read what she wants. Wrote.

As a child, she filled exercise books with “strange, almost incomprehensible symbols,” and Scheuer, as a passionate cross artist between fact and fiction, was entrusted with her “stories alongside enigmatic school exercise notebooks,” he says at the end.

Side piece from “Below the Universe”

At the center of these stories, now told by Scheuer, is Nina’s search for her true identity, that of her mother. Because Ruth Plession, a former student of Sophia Molitor, doesn’t seem to be her mother.
Nina can at least remember her grandparents: the grandfather she loved and who always wanted to take her to Byzantium in his old light blue Opel Cabin.

To the grandmother who didn’t like her because she hit her. For Nina, the grandmother is Gray, one of the three gray-haired and one-toothed people of Greek mythology who decisively shaped Scheuer’s novel, even more so than the many monuments and literary references from Annie Ernaux to Virginia Woolf to Sappho. (Orlando is the name of the turtle Nina)

Grandfather often told his granddaughter about Greek myths. But it was Evros in particular who wrote these legends on beer mugs of all things, in the form of prose poems. It appears in “Mutapur” as the second thread, explained in a tried and tested manner by Scheur’s son Erasmus.

By their own admission, Scheuer believes they will help “understand the intertwined events of the stories as a result of a very particular way of thinking.” Good …

It’s not really easy to follow the stories in this novel, Nina’s complex thinking. Sequences of dreams and real events often overlap, and the young woman literally floats through this novel. Horses and storks fill her dreams, which seem to mingle with the dreams of Sophia Molitor.

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Sophia often imagines her long-deceased husband, who, in turn, may have had an affair with Nina’s mother – who turned into a stork, who could have carried Nina away with him. Then there is talk also of the fact that every member of the Arimonds, the mother family of Norbert Scheuer’s novels, “has a birthmark that looks like a flying bee.”

Nina also has a bee brand. You discover in the most brutal scenes in this novel. At first she was abused by her supervisor, “She touches me between my legs and kisses my bees.” Later they raped several boys, “and I feel his tongue licking a mole, he’s biting my bee.”

Then you know why Paul Arimond, whom Nina fell in love with, disappears without a trace after a night of love – it is Arimond, it could be his sister. Like her, his mother abandoned Paul, just like Gregor, Nina’s missing brother in “At the Bottom of the Universe.”

“Nothing left to see from Kall”

It is no coincidence that the novel is called a “developer”. Mutapur is from the Latin verb mutare, to transform, first singular speaker in the future tense, passive: “I will turn.” And in Wilhelm Hof’s fairy tale Calif Stork, the Motabor stork calls out to the sun, “and it has not changed in a short time.”

Metamorphoses are the central theme of this novel, which becomes Scheuer’s most beautiful, poetic, and grotesque, but also the most difficult, and most impenetrable in syllables.

One gets the impression back home to the narrative world known to Scheuer with its familiar characters, from Gray Heads to Vincentini, and from Nina, Evros and Paul Arraymond to the Molitor clan. However, this impression is deceptive. Scheuer’s personalities and personalities are always changing, and when these changes occur in their dreams.

The mysteries of Nina’s origins and the activities of Sophia Eugene’s husband are only partially solved. In Mutapur the foundation of the universe stumbled. Finally, Nina says that words are the ‘only magic’ with which I can transform myself.

And what about the tide? He is coming, he must come: “Nothing remains of Cal and the many villages of Orvetland.” But despite all the chaos, all the misery he left behind: some things never change in Cal. This includes the insatiable longing of many Scheuer characters to set out and discover the world. This also applies to Nina, which is why the ending of this novel was so happy for her.

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