Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Frisch, Max "Homo Faber"

Frisch, Max "Homo Faber" (German: Homo Faber) - 1957

I have no idea why I never read this. Maybe because most students in Germany hated any kind of classic literature, classic meaning written about ten years before we went to school.

So many issues in this book. Max Faber is Swiss and works around the world as an engineer. His colleagues call him Homo Faber as in the man who makes things, a direct translation from Latin.

You can tell he is a logic thinker but is world is everything but logic. His thoughts travel from World War II to the love of his youth or maybe even the love of his life, His trip to Mexico ends in a massive amount of coincidences which, would they happen to us in real life, we would never believe. Neither does Max. And that's what blinds him, makes him ignore the obvious.

Anyway, this book is a philosophical one, a thinker. We travel through time and space alongside Walter but also accompany him on his way into wisdom, into the "he who can see" part of his life.

Interesting story, good read, great writing.

From the back cover:

"Walter Faber, engineer, is a man for whom only the tangible, calculable, verifiable exists. Dubbed Homo Faber (Man the Maker) by associates, he is devoted to the service of a purely technological world. This devoted service is not, however, without cost: on a flight to South America Faber succumbs to what he interprets as "fatigue phenomena," and we see him lose touch with reality. A return to New York and to his American mistress only convinces him of a need for further rest. Accordingly he boards a ship for Europe, where he encounters a girl who, for reasons of which he is unaware, strongly attracts him. They travel together to France, Italy, and finally Greece, where chance and fate, in an ironic twist on a theme of classic tragedy, make a blind man see."

Max Frisch received the Peace Prize of the German Book Trade (Friedenspreis) in 1976. 

I also read "The Arsonists" by the same author.

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