Forty Lives

»Even from the most banal occurrence, Kermani draws out deep philosophical insights, even with the most everyday experience, he succeds in presenting the drama of human existence. He writes like a virtuoso, and precisely and logically too.«
Berliner Zeitung

»These are pieces of absolutely normal madness that Kermani superelevates to a big puzzle. Wrong tracks, style exercises and masterstrokes. That’s how life can be if you haven’t aligned your antennas exclusively to the World Wide Web yet.
A good read!«
Sächsische Zeitung

Navid Kermani, Vierzig Leben (Forty Lives),
208 pages, Ammann Verlag, Zürich 2004, ISBN 3250600687.

Freedom, Beauty, Dignity, Virtue are all terms that have become overused and overrated in our short-lived times, and more often than not they seem empty and totally devoid of meaning.

Undisputedly, today one has to undertake a meticulous research in order to find the real contents behind the words.

Navid Kermani keeps a look-out in his immediate surroundings – and alas! – there they are: People and situations with which the terms can actually be put in relation, be it in the smallest detail or in the tiniest trace.

The protagonists could be us, they are called Anton, Abdul, Wolli, Anke or Dariusch, and they are the proof that those really grand things still exist, in fact everywhere.
You may find Hope on a street market in Nippe, Longing in the deep-freezing section of a supermarket, Reason, Duty and Lust are all to be found in the same place: in a pub called »Thirst«.

Fulfilment is met with in the train from Bielefeld to Hannover, and Faith, finally, hides in a suburban cinema in Zollstock.

Forty Lives, forty stories of the saints, directly in your neighbourhood. With great care for particularities and not without the comic of desperation, Navid Kermani wrings the last bit of truth out of the worn out words and thus writes an undeniably new catechism of our time.



Sample translations in Arabic, English, French, Spanish and Russian available.