- Expected 6 Feb 2020
- 115,00 kr
'A masterly achievement, a work of imaginative grandeur and complete artistic control' Ian McEwan
'Brilliant and unputdownable' Salman Rushdie
He's a trickster, a player, a jester. His handshake's like a pact with the devil, his smile like a crack in the clouds; he's watching you now and he's gone when you turn. Tyll Ulenspiegel is here!
In a village like every other village in Germany, a scrawny boy balances on a rope between two trees. He's practising. He practises by the mill, by the blacksmiths; he practises in the forest at night, where the Cold Woman whispers and goblins roam. When he comes out, he will never be the same.
Tyll will escape the ordinary villages. In the mines he will defy death. On the battlefield he will run faster than cannonballs. In the courts he will trick the heads of state. As a travelling entertainer, his journey will take him across the land and into the heart of a never-ending war.
A prince's doomed acceptance of the Bohemian throne has European armies lurching brutally for dominion and now the Winter King casts a sunless pall. Between the quests of fat counts, witch-hunters and scheming queens, Tyll dances his mocking fugue; exposing the folly of kings and the wisdom of fools.
With macabre humour and moving humanity, Daniel Kehlmann lifts this legend from medieval German folklore and enters him on the stage of the Thirty Years' War. When citizens become the playthings of politics and puppetry, Tyll, in his demonic grace and his thirst for freedom, is the very spirit of rebellion - a cork in water, a laugh in the dark, a hero for all time.
The latest from Kehlmann (Measuring the World), is a rollicking historical picaresque that follows the legendary trickster, acrobat, juggler, and jack-of-all-trades Tyll Ulenspiegel as he and his company make their way through a 17th-century German countryside gutted by the Thirty Years' War. After his father, a miller in a small village, is executed by the Jesuits for heresy (courtesy of an unusually sympathetic hangman), the young Tyll escapes with his adopted sister, Nele, and becomes pupil to the wandering (and treacherous) entertainer Pirmin. Tyll's ensuing adventures unfold over the course of eight distinct episodes resembling folktales, some of which put the canny Tyll in the foreground, while others feature him only as a witness to the main action. In this manner, readers meet the fat count Martin von Wolkenstein en route from the Viennese court in the thick of battle and encountering a slyly mocking Tyll in the forest; next, Tyll appears in the Hague as the court fool of the so-called "Winter King" Friedrich V and his queen in exile from their kingdom in Bohemia; and two unlikely traveling companions, the great mathematician Adam Olearius and the occultist Dr. Kircher (who is searching the land for dragon's blood in order to cure the plague), find themselves guests of Tyll, Nele, and Origenes, their talking donkey and these are just a few highlights. Located somewhere between German romanticism and modernism, superstition and science, history and high fantasy, this is a rapturous and adventuresome novel of ideas that, like Tyll's roaming sideshow, must be experienced to be believed.