Friday, January 12, 2018

Volker Kutscher

Volker Kutscher's thrilling historical noir novel is Babylon Berlin. From his Q&A with Martha Greengrass at the Waterstones blog:

Your protagonist, Detective Inspector Gereon Rath, is a fascinating and sometimes elusive character in these novels. Newly brought into the Berlin Vice squad, he’s both an establishment figure and an outsider. Why do you feel it is important that Rath should occupy that dual position? How crucial is it to giving the reader a way into the world you’re creating?

The most important thing to me is that the reader should view Weimar Berlin through the eyes of contemporary characters, people who don’t know what the future holds. For Gereon Rath who, of course, is the main character, I wanted a guy in Berlin who’s not a Berlin native, who doesn’t know his way around, to whom everything is new, and who is curious. Beside that probing curiosity, he is also kind of naïve. He is not interested in (or better: disgusted by) politics. Like too many Germans back then, he thought, ‘Why should I care about politics when the most important thing is to live a normal, everyday life?'

At one point, early on in Berlin Babylon, Rath states he wants ‘nothing to do with politics, only criminals’. How important was it for you to expose the complex cross-pollination between the political fracturing of society in Berlin, burgeoning criminality and a wider social picture? Did you want to create a sense that political impact was all-permeating?

The main thing is to...[read on]
--Marshal Zeringue