My rating: 3 stars
The New Sorrows of Young W. by the German writer Ulrich Plenzdorf has the particularity of being narrated by a dead teenager, who takes the opportunity to recall the ultimate months of his short life. Since we know from the outset that Edgar Wibeau died on a 24th of December, the interest of this novel lies in discovering more about the events preceding his death, which was caused by an accident involving electricity.
The book has quite an interesting structure. Edgar’s father is trying to understand what happened to his son, whom he didn’t see for many years. So, we are presented with his conversations with various people, the first of them being Edgar’s mother. These exchanges are interrupted by Edgar who, after his death, comments on what they are saying, offering further explanations and correcting them when they’re wrong, although only the readers can hear him.
We learn that Edgar had been an apprentice at a factory, but he quitted and ran away from home. He went to Berlin at first to apply to an arts school. Despite being turned down, he remained in the city. He didn’t contact his mother but sent some recorded tapes with citations from a book (The Sorrows of Young Werther by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe) to his friend Willi. Continue reading