SMALL WORLD is Martin Suter's first novel, an international best-seller just recently published in the U.S. With it and his succeeding novels not yet out in English, THE DARK SIDE OF THE MOON, and A PERECT FRIEND, Suter has carved out almost a new genre--the psychological thriller--in which a net of corporate intrigue parallels the inner labyrinth of the central character's mind. In SMALL WORLD, the mind is that of a man whose deteroriation due to Alzheimer's brings him closer and closer to early memories that endanger a wealthy and powerful Swiss industrialist--a woman hiding her own past. In DARK SIDE OF THE MOON, the mind at risk is that of a propserous but angry middle-aged lawyer whose specialty is corporate mergers: his personal merger with some magic mushrooms ingested in a Swiss forest bring the anger to the fore and bring him into a deadly game of hunter and hunted in the forest. In A PERFECT FRIEND, the hero lost in a labyrinth is a journalist who wakes up amnesiac in a hospital bed after being hit over the head with a blunt object. He fears he's been assaulted because of a story he was covering--but what the story was and what he'd been doing in the days leading up to the attack, he can't remember. Picking up the lost theads of his life leads him closer and closer to ruthless attackers and truths about himself he won't want to face. Suter's psychological and social explorations are always convincing and precise; his books are page-turners, electric with tension from the first page, surprising to the last and yet always believable. There's no naiveté in his depiction of corporate scams and personal cupidity--yet in his novels even the good guys have faults, and even the bad guys have a certain malign beauty. There's mercy, sweetness and humor in Suter's treatment of his characters that's unique to his writing. He's a novelist to follow, and one hopes that all his novels out and those to come will be published in English.
Konrad has grown up in the shadow of Thomas Koch. He's always been at Thomas's beck and call. Lately Konrad has become absent-minded. When he catches fire to one of the Koch family homes the family is sure that this will be the last time that Elvira(the Koch family matriarch) supports him. They are wrong. Elvira sets him up with a weekly allowance and a place to live.
More and more Konrad is forgetting things. Thinking that it is the alcohol causing his forgetfulness Konrad stops drinking. When he meets a woman and falls in love, Konrad decides to break ties with the Koch family once and for all.
Sinking further and further into Alzheimer's Konrad finally no longer recognizes his lover and has to be institutionalized.
When Thomas's son Urs marries Simone he carries on with his fathers philandering ways. When Konrad escapes the institution the Koch family find him on their property. Disheartened by Urs' behavior Simone decides to start visiting Konrad to find what his connection with the family is. Agreeing to set Konrad up in the guest house, Elvira believes that this will help her keep track of Konrad's memories. After all, there are family secrets that she never wants him to remember.
The blurb on the back says that this is a "gripping psychological thriller." I have to say that I did not find this in any way a thriller. Despite that, I found the story entertaining. I became attached to Konrad's story and felt for his decline into Alzheimer's. The majority of the book was mainly what was happening with Konrad's care, the last bit of the book did delve into some thriller-like aspects, but not enough to get the heart pumping.
A magical little book about a time in history we can grasp. A twisty fun story about the working class intermixing with the super privileged in Switzerland, with a nice finish. Extremely well written. Sorry author Sutter left us early. He would have been one to follow for sure.
This is a very fascinating, touchy, and partially also thrilling story about Konrad Lang, a man who develops Alzheimer's disease. The account tells stories that move from gradually increasing stages of the disease. I could imagine that it might be a bit hard to stand for someone being personally affected by Alzheimer's in the direct environment, but it might as well help to see Konrad and his environment struggling with the disease and its effects on everyone. It is a fascinating story until the very end that makes it difficult to interrupt reading once you started. The end comes as a surprise.