Android 18 knows something about marron

Author Monika Maron: Turn right or chronicler of fears?

What is actually going on? This question is generally difficult to answer, but in a specific case it is getting ironically explosive these days. The publishers are currently sending out previews of the program for the coming months. The traditional company S. Fischer has announced that a volume with essays by the writer Monika Maron will be published in May 2021. Book title: What is actually going on? The main thing is that Maron has not been an author at S. Fischer since autumn of this year, after all of her books had been published there for over 40 years. So the volume of essays is a kind of reference. Or a legacy?

A new book by Monika Maron has just been published by Hoffmann and Campe. It's called Bonnie Propeller, reads in a leisurely hour and tells of a love story between a 78-year-old writer and her third dog. The previous names were Bruno and Momo, and actually the narrator is now looking for a giant schnauzer hybrid again. But then she gets a dachshund from Hungary, to which she initially reacts negatively. "This ugly little animal should be my last dog?" It won't surprise anyone that it turns into a great love. Bonnie Propeller proves to be an intelligent being and wins the heart and the spirit of the owner.

Fears of immigration

Dog owners used to be called masters, from time to time the word will probably still be used today. Monika Maron or her literary double in Bonnie Propeller would accordingly be a mistress. Is such a word still allowed today? The fact that language today is increasingly based on old-fashioned ideas, where it is not questioned about its function as an instrument of rule, is a fact that Maron has repeatedly described distantly in recent years. In Bonnie Propeller but there is nothing that should have prevented Fischer-Verlag from publishing the book. On the contrary, it all points to a perfect title for the Christmas business, a touching but not kitschy tale about the relationship between humans and animals in the ideal gift format.

From various remarks that Monika Maron has made in recent weeks, it becomes clear that the problems with S. Fischer began two years ago. The reason at the time was the novel Munin or the chaos in the head, which is about the fear that "violence, rudeness, dullness could conquer us again". This formulation with a view to the "illegal mass immigration" nominally belongs to the literary figure Mina Wolf, who in Munin or The Chaos in the Head takes center stage and which of course cannot be equated one-to-one with Monika Maron. Nevertheless, a cultural fear pattern was recognizable on the basis of this novel, in which colonial stereotypes recur as a threat scenario. Mina Wolf speaks de facto for a Germany that is afraid of African sons, whom it itself has constructed in a racist manner.

One volume of essays too many

The fact that Fischer submitted a "list of concerns" to the author at the time is part of serious editing. The fact that the novel was still published with numerous problematic passages can be seen as proof of loyalty to the author, who only left the GDR in 1988, although all of her books were clearly in opposition to the Honecker regime. Fischer then also brought in that year Artur Lanz out, the so far last novel by Monika Maron, in which, among other things, the question is whether it is a heroic deed when a man saves the life of his dog, which threatens to strangle itself in a corn field on its own leash.

Fischer no longer wanted to make a volume with essays in which the intellectual development from Monika Maron to a skeptical observer of a public striving for political correctness could have been understood. This volume appeared this year under the title Crooked figures, bitten by the wind in a series called "Exile" (of all things) in the Edition Buchhaus Loschwitz by right-wing populist bookseller and publisher Susanne Dagen. This book is not easy to get in regular bookshops, but if you order from Antaios, it goes quickly. Antaios is the publishing house of Götz Kubitschek, one of the central figures of the New Right in Germany.

Language criticism as a goal

The fact that Maron (like Uwe Tellkamp, ​​with whom Suhrkamp is in a similar embarrassment) entered the field of right-wing counter-public journalism was officially the reason for Fischer not to do the next book with her. That would Bonnie Propeller that was created this Corona summer.

The waiting time for the essay volume at Fischer in the coming year, which will then deal with Crooked figures, bitten by the wind could be compared, one can meanwhile dispel with speculation as to whether with the booksellers couple from Dresden, from whom in Bonnie Propeller the talk is, in the end Susanne Dagen and her husband Michael Bormann are meant. Or better read some of Maron's earlier books, for example Silent line six in which a woman very sensitively registers the differences between ideological and literary language towards the end of the GDR. (Bert Rebhandl, December 9, 2020)