Entertainment » Books

Tomboy

by Kitty Drexel
EDGE Media Network Contributor
Tuesday Nov 15, 2011
Tomboy

Thomas Meinecke is famous for utilizing a writing style that is to the written word what sampling is to music. This may be tantalizing in the original German but in English it is chaotic. It reads the way "Girl Talk" might sound on meth. The plot is nonexistent; it disappears and reappears on a whim. The characters fold and meld into each other such that the reader cannot tell who is speaking without prompts from the author. Bowles' translation reads like a long stream of conscious thesis on Feminism. Sections of the novel are comprised of long lists of philosophers and feminist activists strung together like an impossibly long voicemail message. "Tomboy" lacks the natural flow of music. Well-sampled music samples weave in and out of context seamlessly, the sampled tracks maintaining their autonomy while upholding the larger musical entity. To be fair, this is a translation from the original German. Perhaps something was lost.

The synopsis of the novel provided by the publisher is misleading. By reading it, one could expect to meet Korinna, Frauke, et al. as students of life and get to know them. Rather, Meinecke uses his characters' conversations to wax lyrical about topics ranging from Jesus' foreskin to Theodor Herzl's birth of modern Zionism without bothering to develop relationships. For unlike real university students, they do not stop for long study breaks in the local pub or discuss how hard it is to get the attention of their advisor. The characters are merely a vehicle for Meinecke's own philosophies. The characters' dialogue melds into indistinguishable ranting because Meinecke uses the same voice and syntax for each individual. Eventually there is no individual just a long diatribe on the topic of Meinecke's choosing.

This is not a novel for an experimental feminist looking for a tale of small adventure as the protagonists navigate their university degrees. "Tomboy" is not a pleasure read for the masses but a thesis for hardcore intelligentsia. This work will no doubt find its way into a college German Literature class. It should stay there.

Comments

Add New Comment

Comments on Facebook