Theresia Enzensberger On:
The Great Illusion at Klingenreiter Lumber Sawmill and Woodworking Import Export by Saša Stanišić
Ferdinand Klingenreiter is seventy-seven and for the first time in his life he finds himself on stage with his conjuring show, in front of the entire family and all the village. While he calls for attention (with limited success) and waits for the village hall to fill up, the history of the Klingenreiters’ family business unfolds in the background. Stanišić takes just fifteen pages to introduce a cast of characters of Dodererian proportions. Stanišić’s prose is so dense that it never feels rushed or flat. The world of the Klingenreiters – a world that is extremely German and for that very reason extremely exotic – is made particularly alive to us in the portrayal of the relationship between Ferdinand and his great-nephew: the two outsiders of the family come together in their common desire to magic themselves away. Sad though this may sound, the story is also humorous – like most of what Stanišić writes.