It’s the rough social debates that interest jan weiler: migration, the displaced past, social pleasures… Now the bestselling author ("maria, ihm schmeckt’s nicht") takes on the battle of the sexes.
In his new book "kuhn hat hunger", he lets his main character despair not only of his diatribe and a brutal murder – but also of his own manhood. The rough question: when is a man a man??
In an interview with the german press agency in munich, weiler (51) talks about male overachievement, his new book – and how it feels when readers understand his stories very differently than he meant them to be.
Question: mr. Weiler, how do you feel when a new book of yours is published??
Editor: it’s probably similar to an architect or a building contractor. When you build a house, you’re insanely involved and you check every socket and every tap to make sure it’s all done right. And when the thing is finished and people live in it, then you have to let it go. When people buy the book, they move into my house and then I have to let them do it.
Question: do you find it difficult to let people do what they want and maybe even hang up hateful curtains??
Answer: you have to live with it. That was the case with the first book, "maria, ihm schmeckt’s nicht" ("maria, he doesn’t like it"). For me it was a book about migration and the fear of the foreigner. But the people have moved in and found it funny. You lose the power of interpretation over the book.
In the case of the "kuhn" books, it was said that they were crime novels, although from my point of view they are social novels. Yes, there is a victim, there is a perpetrator, and there is a police officer and an investigation. But that doesn’t make it a crime novel for me. It’s about this main character and it’s about his life. He could have been a glazier or a tiler. But i wanted him to have a socially important mission. But I can not complain. After all, people buy it and that is important.
Question: if "maria, ihm schmeckt’s nicht" was a book about the fear of the stranger, "kuhn hat hunger" is the white man’s fear of losing his place in society.
Answer: yes, it’s about this insanely difficult relationship between men and women that is becoming more and more complicated. In everyday life, this question is a major challenge for many people – at least in urban areas. I do not judge that at all, but I take that first of all as a foil for my story. I find it interesting, because it is so pervasive in our lives at the moment.
Last week i saw a clip on facebook from an old episode of "TV total" with stefan raab. A world champion soccer player is a guest and raab asks her if she drinks prosecco every time she changes sides. That was already a bloder joke at that time. But if you were to make that today, you had to expect to be properly whistled at.
That has changed incredibly, and it is very difficult for people who are in their 40s or 50s. For my children, by the way, not at all. They would not make such jokes. My son shrugs his shoulders at such jokes and doesn’t understand them anymore. But in my generation it is still different. There you still grew up with very strange role models, which were not seriously questioned – not even by your parents. My mother once said: i am the last smeared generation of women.
Question: was there a draw, a moment, when you knew that you wanted to make this the subject of your new book??
Answer: I always look for a meta-topic for my books. The first "kuhn" book was about the suppressed past, which is a huge topic for us germans, the second was about the incredible social differences in a big city like munich, and the third is now about the coexistence of men and women, the changes in society that have to be confronted. It also had to do with the fact that I moved to the city. That changes the view on social things totally.
On the way here, you can always see ticking time bombs: men who never meet a woman and spend a lot of time on the internet with a porn-driven fantasy of something or other. These people experience every day that their dreams are not compatible with reality. There are some – few – frustrated guys who can explode at any time. There are real misogynists. And they are also constantly confirmed by auben. Just look at donald trump. The man is over 70 and can’t manage to talk respectfully about women.
Question: is this now the opposite tendency to movements like #metoo?? The rejection of the old, white man?
Answer: I do not know. What I notice is that there is a backlash to the movement and also to neo-feminism. There are simply some people who feel insulted, attacked, subjugated, humiliated by it, and who naturally cannot react adequately to it. It is something very human. The men are the ones who have something to lose.
Question: gender roles have traditionally been a very emotionally debated topic. Look forward to such discussions?
Answer: yes, I always look forward to talking with other people about these topics. With the book, however, it could be that there are also people with whom I do not want to talk at all. But you have to get through it. I think the book is totally feminist. It is also a book for understanding this martin, but in fact it is a book for women.
About him: jan weiler was born in dusseldorf, now lives in munich, and has since swapped his main job as a journalist (including as editor-in-chief of SZ magazine) for that of bestselling author. His breakthrough came with his first book "maria, ihm schmeckt’s nicht" (maria, he doesn’t like it). His subsequent books include "das pubertier", "kuhn hat zu tun" and "kuhn hat arger". His new book "kuhn hat hunger" is the third in the series about the detective superintendent martin kuhn.
Jan weiler, kuhn hat hunger, piper munchen, 416 pages, EAN 978-3-492-05876-6