Luck is the story of a nuclear family: father, mother, daughter and son. But all is not as it seems, for Mother is in love with Herr Herkenrath, and now father and son will have to leave home. Or will they? The mother sits in her room, squirting herself with perfume, waiting for her new man to arrive and her old one to go. Everyone makes their own ...
Luck is the story of a nuclear family: father, mother, daughter and son. But all is not as it seems, for Mother is in love with Herr Herkenrath, and now father and son will have to leave home. Or will they? The mother sits in her room, squirting herself with perfume, waiting for her new man to arrive and her old one to go. Everyone makes their own luck in this life! she tells her children. The father sits in his room, planning another novel. Why doesn't his writing sell? Is it just bad luck? Thomas Mann's first book was rejected five times, after all. When he takes his son for a walk, the townspeople wish them all the luck in the world. We'll see about that! he says. The little sister is the lucky one: she gets to stay at home. Then again, the son won't have to put up with Herr Herkenrath's annoying habits and his smelly feet. So maybe he's lucky to be going. But will they really leave for Russdorf? Or is it Berlin? Or Africa? Or will Father manage to win Mother round at the very last minute? Only time will tell, but time is running out. The moving van is on its way. Soon Herr Herkenrath will arrive and the whole family will sit down for the last time to coffee and crumb cake. But maybe, with any luck, Herr Herkenrath will choke on the crumbs. A child's-eye view of a family in decline, Gert Hofmann's Luck mixes humor and suspense with a heartbreaking pathos.
Publishers Weekly, 2002-04-01 The late Hofmann (The Parable of the Blind) explores the dissolution of a family from the viewpoint of an adolescent German boy in 1960 in this frank, affecting novel. Mother has asked Father to move out, and the story unfolds over a single morning while the family waits for the moving van that will take Father and the nameless narrator to new lodgings. Trying to gather fragments of his childhood "so that some of it might stick later," the boy wanders through the house and around the town with his sister trailing behind, spilling an endless stream of questions in a child's attempt to understand an adult's decision. Stripped, spare prose creates the impression that the boy is merely a detached witness to his parents' separation, but subtle clues belie his neutrality: an almost imperceptible impatience with his bumbling father; a muted desire to be noticed by his self-absorbed mother. As the day progresses, Father, a failed novelist, vacillates between confronting Mother and pretending that nothing is wrong, while Mother preens in a separate bedroom, awaiting the new, steadily employed lover who will take Father's place. As the clock winds down, the boy anxiously waits for a last-minute reprieve from Mother or some show of spirit from Father that will keep the family intact, however unhappy they might be together. While Hofmann's desolate emotional landscapes and darkly comic observations are not for those seeking a literary lark, readers will appreciate his deft handling of the minimalist plot and his authentic rendering of a precociously perceptive boy baffled by his elders. (May) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
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