Tue 26 November 2013

After Charleroi come the Scottish Highlands

erik lindner © gezett.deErik Lindner wrote ten poems for citybooks about Charleroi. Only recently, his first novel appeared in print: Naar Whitebridge (To Whitebridge) is a meditation on the Scottish Highlands. Here, especially for our dear readers, is a short introduction of the text, penned by the author himself.

‘For citybooks I went to Charleroi. Exciting! If I make a text, a review or an essay, then I can usually come to an agreement with myself that I’ll complete that work within a fixed period of time. With poems, though, that’s something you can never know in advance. Poems are strange things; don’t ask me how I make them. In Charleroi, I went out walking every day and decided that what I observed and perceived, I’d render in words at once. This is what I see, this is what you get.

With the novel Naar Whitebridge, that was different. As a thirteen-year-old, I lived in a small, Scottish settlement in the highlands. I was there just briefly, and in a clearly delimited, neatly defined period. I have memories of it. But are those memories accurate? Have I not, over the course of years, constructed a story from them? The place lends itself well to a particular species of romanticism: a rural estate bordering Loch Ness with plentiful wild nature, mountains, forests, a little castle and cottages, handfuls of scattered lakes, an Irish gardener with three daughters, a wood containing the skeletons of fifteen horses. Just as a pyromaniac warms himself by the flames of his own fire, or like the criminal who always returns to the scene of the crime, I was compelled to revisit Whitebridge; to drink down its smells, to see what the things I might find on and off its beaten tracks. Everything was still there just as it had been; only the landowning earl had passed away.

Naar Whitebridge is my first novel; and a novel really is a different beast compared with poetry. It requires a narrative; it has characters. But in writing it, I first needed a place to focus on. A place to be able to remember, to be able to fill with thoughts, with words and images; with all manner of things.’

(Erik Lindner, author)



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