|| Book Club || Superabundance By Heinz Helle

For book club this month, we tried to move away from stories of women trying to find freedom (which was becoming a bit of a theme) and picked the first book from German author Heinz Helle. As usual, if I were you I would read the book before looking at these questions. Just a suggestion, I don't want to ruin anything!

SOME FACTS ABOUT THE AUTHOR AND THE BOOK

  • He was born in 1978.
  • He studied Philosophy in Munich and New York. 
  • He works as in advertising copy-writer. 
  • He is a graduate of the Swiss Institute of Literature in Biel, where he lives. 
  • Superabundance was originally written in German and is also known by its literal translated title : The soothing sound of exploding kerosene (The Reassuring Sound of Exploding Kerosene). 

QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER

  • The narrator has no name. What effect does this have on your reading of the book and connection with this character?

  • The first scene in the book describes a young boy playing football - what is going on here? Why did Helle choose this as the opening scene?

  • Football comes up a few times in this book, are there any parallels that you an draw - for example football/masculinity, football/community?

  • Consciousness and perception are ongoing themes in this book. What is Helle saying about them?

  • Helle's style is repetitive, he presents a lot of lists and uses many short, sharp sentences. He also writes cyclical lines such as "The words in my head do not exist, I tell myself with the words in my head." What is the effect of his style? 

  • Do you like the nameless creator? Do you think he is funny or just downright awful? How important is likability for a powerful narrative? 

  • Each chapter has a title, some are pulled from somewhere in that chapter but some do not and are actually at odds with the content of that chapter (see p83 'I wonder if I should quit smoking'). Why does Helle do this? Are the chapter headings useful?