"Fox 8": George Saunders has a cure for Fükse


Ich had just such a strong feeling in the Harz that it is not good for Fükse when they open. "For George Saunders this is not an unusual sentence. At Saunders, there is a certain waywardness program. Otherwise you can not write stories called "CommComm", "I CAN SPEAK! TM" or simply "93990". The spelling is behind the imagination. Not to mention reality.

Because in reality there is no I CAN SPEAK!TMthat you otherwise use to operate speechless babies, and in fact there are no ghosts in the Buddhist bardo, at least not in the cemetery where Abraham Lincoln buried his little son.

But Saunders has narrated these ghosts, this bardo and this Lincoln in his novel "Lincoln in the Bardo". He won a Booker Award for it, and a bestseller was "Lincoln in the Bardo" too. By the way, the novel was Saunders' first. Normally he invents his literally crazy worlds of stories, which in the end count only ten or twenty pages.

George Saunders

George Saunders

Source: Getty Images

"Pastoralien", one of his most beautiful narrative volumes, begins, for example, in a theme park in which actually reasonable contemporaries earn their money as a Stone Age actor: "I'm so sorry for goat roast, I could scream."

For George Saunders, that's not an unusual proposition. And even if you pretended to be an incorrigible fantasist, you would have to admit to him that there are theme parks, unpleasantly ambitious parents, and the myth of Abraham Lincoln. And certainly there is also a fox who senses in their hearts that it would not be good if the foxes gave up.

By the way, Saunders' narrator Fuchs 8 learned to speak on a "story window". There he has been listening to people telling stories for so long, until he was able to "understand manchief very well". "Spelling", however, he can "not perfect". What the "music words" that "almost zinirn" him, but does not bother him. So much is sound in the human world – but unfortunately also the "Elkawes", the "Urwalt ausgram" to build a "Mool", which is just called "Fuksblikk Center". Fox 7, Fox 8 and all the others are about to extinguish their world.

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And that, although the fox is actually the symbol animal of a nature that even survives the Anthropocene. Numerous children's books tell about it – and if it were not for this devastating spelling, Saunders' "Fox 8" could be one of them. In fact, Saunders has already written a children's book with "Die frlichen stubbige Gapper von Frip", which was so wonderful that hardly anyone in Germany took notice of it. (Small tip: Used today you can buy it for under one euro.)

But no, "Fuchs 8" is probably no children's book in the end, despite all apparent naivety. Rather, it is an upside-down fable that puts people in their illusions – such as those that the common fabulist makes about foxes. Fuchs 8 is not a bit smart – he is, on the contrary, a slightly contaminated "Tagtroimer" – and devious, as the fable actually wants, he certainly is not. "We put no Hüner in!", He states after mitgehter fable at the story window. "We are open and happy with Hünern!" Only people who forget to run away are eaten. "Not smart. Very direkk. "

The classic fox roll, on the other hand, comes to people in "Fuchs 8". Their cunning causes the "mool" to emerge ("could Fükse do something like that? Forget about digging our burrow, that's it."). Their cunning makes them full and rich – but unfortunately not human, as it is the nasty fox of the fable.

Saunders keeps up the naïve childhood sound, inevitably the story told by Fox 8 seems to be heading for a fun slapstick moment, a comical and certainly instructive encounter of civilization and wilderness, fox and consumption – somewhere beyond the majestic "pair king" in the Fuchsblick Center between "Hägen-das", "Compu-Fun", "BoFrots", "Wolmart" and all the other achievements of our enlightened world. The fact that things are different is not unusual for Saunders. "I had heard many stories at the window, but never a story in which something passer as poor Fuks 7 pasirte."

George Saunders: "Fox 8", From the English by Frank Heibert. Luchterhand, 56 p., 12 €.

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