European Literature Days 2016: Review of Peeter Helme by Klaus Bittner

Everything always begins with a single look… A look that completely changes the world and suddenly fills it with the most incredible illusions… Yes, the world was no longer the same.

What happens when two people meet, look at each other and know that from now on they will stay together, that they want to talk, to be intimate and to love each other? How do they steal shared time when both are already in relationships; and how do they snatch half hours in bars, in the park and similar rendezvous for secret meetings, yet without being noticed or giving themselves away? How do we recognize true love and deal with this realization? How can it be preserved or kept at all? I pressed my nose into her white woollen jumper with the polo neck, drank in her scent, an unforgettable, indescribable mixture of her perfume and the sweetish fragrance of her body. That made me as happy as anyone can be who knows how fragile and fleeting his happiness is.

Short philosophical sentences are interwoven into the text about the topic of time and our individual perception of time, for example, by Nietzsche, Heidegger, Stephen Hawking or from old reference works. Maybe that’s only a person’s desperate attempt – with no knowledge of physics ­­– to grasp the incomprehensible, since what I could feel and hold I frivolously exchanged for fleeting and useless banalities.

The Estonian writer Peeter Helme integrates all this into almost 100 pages of a touching, contemplative novel.

By Klaus Bittner

Translated by Suzanne Kirkbright

 

This blog was originally published on ELit Literature House Europe website on 24 October 2016.

Category: ELit Literature House Europe Observatory

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