I don't know why I deserved a present by Hilde, but there it was 'Nullzeit' by German author Juli Zeh. Hilde Keteleer translated this book into Dutch and knowing her quality I am sure she did a great job. Hilde will interview Juli Zeh on May 2nd at 1 pm in the Permeke Library in Antwerp. Nullzeit is zero-time in diving. This novel is an ingenious construction with a seemingly simple enough story. A dysfunctional couple travels to a faraway island to learn how to dive as a preparation for the leading role in a movie. The novel interweaves information about diving, descriptions of the volcanic island and the inner life of the main characters. One could say that 'Water' is the main character getting the best and the worst out of the human protagonists. The psychological crime novel is craftily constructed: changing narrative positions Most of it as told by Sven (the diving instructor) yet the interspersed by diary fragments by Jola, the rich actress hoping for a role. The reason for this construction becomes clear in the lasts pages of the book. The underwater descriptions are really pleasant to read and instructive just as the description of The Dorset, a famed painstakingly restored sailboat. The relationship between Jola and Theo are bordering on the sadistic and/or masochistic.
Sven is kind of forlorn in this and his girlfriend Antje is the no-nonsense element at the end regretting her choices. There is a nice fluidity to the book, in the writing and the elaborate construction which one sees only at the very end. I am always glad to learn something new. I didn't know this German author and thank Hilde for her present.