Saša Stanišić's latest book "Wolf" is about fear. And about bullying. And about courage. What initially sounds like a rather difficult topic, the book award winner ("Origin") has implemented in a relaxed and light way.
To do this, the 45-year-old took the perspective of a 13-year-old teenager who was growing up with his mother and had to spend a week at a holiday camp. In the middle of the woods. With this ghastly nature. And with stupid classmates. The boy has accordingly zero buck. But then there is Jörg. It's different. He seems to be at peace and at the same time is always the victim of the mean gang of boys led by Marko. And nobody does anything - not even the 13-year-old.
"Silent complicity" never let go of him
Saša Stanišić, who lives in Hamburg, also took up the topic of bullying in his book because it has occupied him since his school days, as he told the German Press Agency in Hamburg. "It seems to me that the subject is one of the most important in the lives of all adolescents and deserves much more talk about it." As a student, he himself saw life made difficult for one of his classmates, and he and most of the others did nothing to help him. This "silent complicity" never let go of him. "School must have felt like the biggest hurdle for him."
The first-person perspective, with all its gentle irony, makes it easy to empathize with the mixed feelings of the thoroughly charming and yet often blocking teenager. The dichotomy between wanting and doing. The inner hurdles. And also the tender thoughts of hope and courage. Courage for yourself, courage for others. But above all courage against the inner fear - against the "wolf".
On 185 pages and with suitable and unexcited drawings by Regina Kehn, it's about inner strength, about calming down, about observing, about letting in a different perspective and about the magic of getting to know things that you actually wanted to find stupid.
The book is not intended for a specific audience
Stanišić doesn't think his book is for a particular target group. On the contrary: Instead, "we all" should read it. "I don't know of any person who hasn't come into contact with bullying in some way." However, he recommends that parents of children under the age of twelve read the book together. He also hopes that his "Wolf" - "because of the topic that concerns us all" will also be read by adults.
When asked about a message from "Wolf", the German-Bosnian author Stanišić is very clear: "Don't look away. Be accomplices for those who have no accomplices. Talk to each other and not about each other."