by Victoria Vorbröker and Victoria Mrosek, photos by Lydia Weber
Do it like the German author, Marc-Uwe Kling, and write a book about it!
In ‘The Kangaroo Chronicles’ (German title: Die Känguru Chroniken), Kling narrates about his life in a classical flat-sharing community in Berlin. The East Berliner Kangaroo contends his class-fight by debating the deep questions of life. As his book was recently published in Danish, Kling came to Aarhus, and we had the pleasure of attending his reading at the Studenterhus on September 27.
Philosophising with a Kangaroo
Is lying in a hammock already a kind of passive resistance? Must the Kangaroo place its pouch onto the conveyor belt at the airport security check? Did the Kangaroo really fight for the Viet Cong?
When Kling and the Kangaroo first meet in the hallway, the Kangaroo simply wants to borrow eggs to make pancakes. What starts off as an innocent scene between two neighbours turns the author’s peaceful and slick life upside down: the champagne truffle loving Kangaroo challenges his human flatmate with philosophical questions, political theories and, not in the least, his aversion to cleaning.
‘The Kangaroo Chronicles’ has become a huge success among German readers. Behind the absurd encounters and satiric scenes, the reader can discover a social criticism. While critically investigating the true meaning of communism, the author draws a humorous picture of the German bigotry and the petty bourgeois.
Nailing the Danish translation
Organised by the Kulturgesellschaft in Aarhus, the event was hosted at the Studenterhus of Aarhus University. Plenty of people showed up, and Kling was quite surprised by it. Although the majority of the audience was German and familiar with the book, Jacob Jonia entertained a few curious listeners with his crafty performance of the Danish translation.
According to Kling, finding the Danish words for some particular German terms and habits was a great challenge for Jonia, who proved, while reading the samples, how creative he was in finding a solution to the problem.
More German laughs please!
Despite the large size of the room, the two readers managed to create a cozy and personal atmosphere, which was supported by the author’s down-to-earth character. By changing his voice to simulate the dialogue, he presented a sharp and brutally honest kangaroo. Kling’s digressing during the free talk underlined the diversity of the kangaroo’s story itself.
The multifarious selection of text excerpts avoided any kind of boredom, filling the evening with laughter both on the German and the Danish side. This was particularly the case during the Q&A session, where longstanding fans had the opportunity to ask their long-held questions, such as: “Why did you pick a kangaroo?”
Kling’s answer to that question was as simple as true: “I cannot help it. This book is based on autobiographical experience, and I don’t have another flatmate.”
The story continues
Overall, especially for the German students in Aarhus, it was an evening of great pleasure and a distraction from academic life with a bit of taste from home.
The ‘Kængurukrøniken’ version in Danish – curiously available in Korean too – needs to sell 2,000 copies in order for the Danish publisher to invest in the translation of the second volume: ‘The Kangaroo Manifest’.
We know you would not regret buying one of these copies, and you certainly don’t want to miss the second part, so we encourage you to buy it.
Nevertheless, in the worst case, Kling announced he would buy them himself to make it happen – classic capitalism.
If you are interested in buying the book in Danish follow this link.