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Die Geschichte von Herrn Sommer

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After Illustration from the book's coverI lent Patrick Süskind's Das Parfum (Perfume in English) -an excellent book by the way - to my mother she also bought Die Geschichte von Herrn Sommer (The Story of Mr Sommer), with pretty illustrations by Jean-Jacques Sempé edition and gave it to me after reading it herself.

It's written from a child's perspective telling us, unsurprisingly, something about Mr Sommer, but getting sidetracked frequently along the way, so we learn quite a bit about the narrator's life. It has a very interesting and open-minded end that makes you think about things as guilt and empathy, but what I loved the book most for are all the details in it when the narrator gets sidetracked.

He tells us about his piano lessons and how playing four-handed Diabelli sonatinas is just about one of the nicest and most relaxing things you can do - particularly when all other pieces seem very hard and evil. Pretty much, what I thought when playing Diabelli and possibly a hint that most piano teachers have very similar goodies up their sleeves.

But the very best and on-the-spot description in the book was the narrator telling us how he remembered where right and left are: By learning that right is the side of the bike where the handbrake is [at least that helps for bikes with backpedalling brakes]:

Anschließend wies mich mein Bruder in die wichtigsten Regeln der Straßenverkehrsordnung ein, zuvörderst in die Regel, immer strikt rechts zu fahren, wobei rechts als diejenige Seite definiert war, wo sich die Handbremse an der Lenkstange befand [Noch heute halte ich mich an dieses einprägsame Definition, wenn ich in einem Zustand momentaner Verwirrung nicht mehr weiß, wo rechts oder links ist. Ich stelle mir dann einfach eine Fahrradlenkstange vor, betätige im Geist die Handbremse und bin wieder bestens orientiert.] ...

Wow, that's just so me, I thought, when reading it. The way I remember this little but important fact is by recalling that you wear a watch on your left wrist - and that's despite the fact that I haven't been wearing a watch for about a decade.

I think I'll dig a bit into this, and do some research on how people remember the difference between left and right. Tell me!

[Buy at amazon .com, .uk, .de]

December 10, 2002, 1:43

Tagged as book, lang:de, patrick süskind.

Comments

Comment by Anonymous: User icon

this book rocks

May 7, 2003, 21:15

Comment by sm: User icon

i really enjoyed the book - but even at my age i cannot tell my left from my right, let alone ride a bike. wow, thats depressing.

November 11, 2003, 12:45

Comment by Chrissy: User icon

Wow, ich liebe dieses Buch. Patrick Süßkind ist echt ein Meister. Ich merk mir rechts und links, wenn ich mir ne Deutschland-karte vorstelle und überleg: Sooo, …Osten ist also rechts… ^^

February 2, 2006, 16:54

Comment by Alaina: User icon

Personally, I have a freckle on my right ring finger, which I have to check frequently. Maybe that’s not as creative as imaginary bike breaks, but here’s another one for you… I still have issues with ziehen und drücken, so I automatically look at door hinges to figure out which way the thing swings!

February 3, 2006, 17:13

Comment by rae: User icon

wo kann ich das kaufen?

February 26, 2006, 12:56

Comment by Gina: User icon

I read this book in German and I’m still trying to figure out the end. As for the right-left issue, I think English kids are taught to put their hands up in front of their face and stick out their thumbs. The hand that makes the L shape (with the index finger and thumb), that’s left. I saw that in a TV show… I think it was Jericho (great show by the way).

March 31, 2008, 14:12

Comment by naruto uzumaki: User icon

what the fucking hell, i hate you all you shall all die….FEEL THE WRATH OF THE LICH KING MWHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

December 1, 2008, 14:33

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