We were close to despair when faced with five feet of dark red book spines lined up on the shelves of our library; 27 volumes containing the German complete edition of Heinrich. Böll’s works. This includes novels, letters, book reviews and short stories illustrating the author’s intellectual journey. The legacy of a heavyweight of German literature who was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1972.
We meet this brief through our selection of three stories in which fiction and reality, the thinkable and unthinkable, becomes blurred in the lives of the protagonists:
In “Something Will Be Done”, the protagonist perfects the trivial day-to-day duties of his work with its insanely dull routines, only to finally find true appreciation for something entirely different. The tragedy of “The Death of Elsa Baskoleit", a brief glimpse of whom youthfully, uninhibitedly dancing causes speechlessness and who fantastically continues to exist after her death, while those closest to her suffocate amidst the unfathomable.
While finally “The Laugher” is tasked with enacting a contagious zest for life in order to captivate others, his superficial performance gives way to a deep melancholy. These three characters – anonymous and yet familiar – reveal the contradictions and absurdities of modern everyday life and, at the same time, commemorate its subtle beauty.
Artists Migo Rollz, Raphaelle Macaron and Magdy el-Shafee depict in this volume how they interpret these narratives. They not only build a bridge to the three specific stories from an unfamiliar context, but also convey how not everything requires a conclusive answer in order to serve as a source of inspiration.