The bizarre climate scientist who wanted to be an option as a kid

One can begin this review with a summary provided by the protagonist Ida, who wished they were an option as a child and thinks a lot about nuclear disasters as an adult. One can mention that Ida is a climate researcher, who lives in Amsterdam and loves a woman named Robin. On that day, you will set out to the Italian Alps to participate in a research project on a dam as part of an internship.

All of this wouldn’t be wrong, but it probably doesn’t say anything fundamental about Dutch writer Liek Marsmann’s first novel. Marsmann, who has been officially allowed to call herself a “Poet of Federland” for two years since 2021, has been considered a bit of a literary prodigy in the Netherlands since coming onto the scene at the age of 20 with her first book of poetry. With her first novel, the original version of which was published in 2017, the author impressively cemented her reputation as an exceptional talent, which can now also be experienced in German.

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Cleet Kota published Marsman’s novel The Man’s Reversal on August 20, 2022

“The Contrast of Man” (Amazon affiliate link ) with a poem, and it should not be the last in this mix of novel, poetry, and essays that go against tradition. The first-mentioned Ida narrator acts as a fixed point in this distinct literary universe. Ida mainly talks about herself and her thoughts, interests and fears.

The book looks like it’s staring at the navel, and sometimes it looks like it’s browsing a private blog. Lined here are Naomi Klein’s quotes critical of capitalism with philosophical reflections on the nature of love and mundane descriptions of everyday life. Marsman allows her narrative, divided into short chapters, to perform all kinds of associative jumps reminiscent of clicking on hyperlinks.

But on a closer look, it will not be as arbitrary as many things appear at first glance. Soon a major issue that Ida had been circling around emerged, namely her selfishness and the selfishness of people in general against the backdrop of climate change. With dry humor and gorgeous punchlines, Marsman allows her neurotic heroine to reflect on current events when she puts sentences like this in her mouth: “In the past, weather was a reason to stay home. Today is a reason to get up to walk the street.”

conglomerate of ideas

With all that, especially linguistic intelligence, one can always ask oneself how everything depicted Mars around his ears relates. Between hashtags, footnotes, and avalanches of quotes, one often has less sense of reading a novel than navigating through a fine literary jumble.

The Anti-Human is definitely worth a read if you don’t let yourself be troubled by the fragmentation of the narrative and the constantly spinning heroine. However, especially towards the end, it becomes clear that Marsman sometimes drifts too far and doesn’t really want the ending to work out. However, this is a remarkable appearance that repeatedly encourages wild dreams and hopes, even in the face of global catastrophe and realistic scientific facts. Ida reads online that “You can’t dream if you sleep less than ten minutes.” Then he says, “I sleep six minutes and dream Robin.”

Information about the book

Leckie Marsman: The Antithesis of Man. a novel. Translated from the Dutch by Christian Burkhardt and Stephanie Uchelle. 192 pages. Klet Kuta Verlag. Stuttgart 2022. Hardcover: 22 (ISBN 978-3-608-96591-9). E-book: 17.99

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