Saturday , March 6 2021

Literature: Idiosyncratic: Matias Faldbakken's "The Hills"

The Hills guests can feel like the old days. A veteran waiter in one and the same title in the novel describes his experience. Everything goes until a young woman appears.

Norwegian author Matias Faldbakken's new novel is a stubborn job. "Hills" describes the old Europe with endless traditions.

This novel can be read as a critique of consumption and globalization as chamber music, which regularly lacks the restaurant's restaurant set up in Oslo, carefully watched by a waiter. He describes what he sees and hears, the reader experiences a scene from only his point of view. The work of the book, which is divided into five parts, almost does not exist, while specific tensions emerge on nearly 240 pages.

Hills is a reputable company reminiscent of the 19th-century Vienna café, with roof over brass pipes, chandeliers, Art Nouveau mirrors, wall panels decorated with portraits and drawings, home pianist. Wine and food are kept in a maze-cellar, the kitchen walls are black with flamingos and resemble the wounded waiter. These detailed descriptions make the restaurant strange and gloomy, as well as an encapsulated microcosm surrounded by hostile outer world.

The unknown waiter is connected with customers, just like Graham, whom he calls only a pig, and others regularly return to the guests who use the restaurant as their living room. Rhytvins and rituals begin to appear when a mysterious young woman, whose storyteller is called "a kind of childbirth," appears. Waitress, 13 years old, The Hills, mix and want to regulate the processes. In the figure, he also wants to return to the old days when guests are still scandalous newspapers, not touching smartphones. He praises his wardrobe, its quality and longevity: "It's neither useful nor superfluous, just like in most cases these days."

An observer who is still desperate and described as extremely sensitive, inspired by the global transportation of goods, wears socks from the United States – "This place (…) is a condensation of broken objects." He is worried about the video from the Internet, and SMS and social media are terrible for him. Political slogans like Damascus and "Conditions in Great Britain," meaning Brexit, are the names of Balzac, Voltaire and Durer.

Faldbakken, a writer and artist born in 1973, is known for his extraordinary work, such as Scandinavian Misanthrope trilogy consisting of The Cocka Hola Company, Macht und Rebel and Unfun. In addition to small details, his new book is well written and entertaining, carefully reflects the thoughts and the nature of the waiter, strictly observed waitresses and hospitality. The text – translated from Norwegian Maximilian Stadler – but also works artificially and eventually the tension evaporates. Moreover, the criticism of a reckless and indifferent consumer society is nothing more than a new one.

– Matias Faldbakken: the mountains. Wilhelm Heyne Verlag Munich, 238 pages, 22 euros, ISBN 978-3-453-27190-6.

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