Joop vs. The Bear
Here, as in Marta Morazzoni’s INVENTION OF TRUTH (1993), is a small European novel that resonates with energy, truth and pathos more expansive than the design of the book jacket or the dimensions of the book suggest.
This novel is about nature and human nature and how the two seem to be fundamentally unsuited to co-exist, in opposition to each other at best.
Joop is the great German capitalist, a self-doubting banker, hunter and economic predator in civilized society. His prey the bear is the supreme creation of nature, a mighty power in the forest. Joop’s ego is nearly as potent as his complex instincts. The bear’s struggle for survival is simple, primal and direct, and compellingly rich with hints of meaning. Jack London’s unforgettable Buck occurred to me more than a couple of times as I read and identified with the lumbering innocent I feared was doomed by Joop before the two would ever meet.
It is noteworthy to me that both THE INVENTION OF TRUTH and THE LAST HUNT feature seemingly simple slice-of-life stories that leave the reader intrigued, inspired and thoughtful. So much writing published since THE HUNT ties up stories in resolutions neatly and leaves little room for imagination and reflection, not to mention application of the story’s distinctive strengths to the reader’s own life experience.
THE LAST HUNT, Horst Stern, Random House, New York, 1993. First U.S. Edition. Originally published in German as Jagdnovelle by Kindler Verlag GmbH, Munchen.
Happy Book Lovers Day 2017!