Marlen Hobrack’s novel “Schrödinger’s Grrrl”: Live digitally, perform analogously

Of course, you can also apply the literary business fun that Marlen Hobrack allows herself with her debut novel “Schrödinger’s Grrrl” to herself: Did she really write this novel? Or did she just give up her name and person because the Berliner Verbrecher Verlag was so convinced of a manuscript whose not so negligible flaw is that it came from a writer in his fifties, an old white man, as it is today gladly called defamatory

However, and this distinguishes Hobrack from her protagonist Mara Wolf, who is just over twenty years old, she is almost twice her age, studied literature, culture and media studies, writes for the “taz”, “Zeit” and “Welt” and has with “Best in class. How origin divides our society” has already published a non-fiction book.

Mara Wolf, on the other hand, does not have a school certificate, is on Hartz IV recipient, lives in Dresden, lives every day, lives mainly in social media, especially Instagram, where she stays for almost five hours.

Game with autofictional literature

But then comes the moment when a PR man runs into her and makes an immoral offer: “There is an author (…) who would like to risk a little experiment. He hopes that his lyrics will sell better if – if someone like you, if a young woman claims the lyrics as hers.” Because: “Nobody wants to read the coming-of-age story of a 20-year-old from the pen of an old man , especially not these bookstagrammers.”“

Wolf agrees – and she’s not so tight with money anymore, her life has a different move. However, not as strong as one would expect after this exposure. With “Schrödinger’s Grrrl”, Hobrack has already written a literary business satire, embedded in it is a mixture of play and reckoning with autofictional literature as well as a critique of the fixation of the publishing and literary world on young, at best diverse female authors, on well-selling biographical material beyond the well-off Middle-class world of contemporary German-language literature.

And yet she is even more interested in a portrait of a young woman from a modest background who does not really find her way between the analogue and digital worlds: who here goes cleaning with her messy mother to earn money, and again constantly working on her performance on Instagram there

Central to this is the love story with Paul, a young Liverpooler whom Mara meets in friends’ shared apartment. Love unfolds, not least because of the distance, as purely digital, from pictures to written words and emojis to sexting. And yes, as Mara wonders, isn’t this digital love real? That’s me! But when she visits Liverpool spontaneously, it doesn’t work at all, and that’s worse, more drastic, more mind-destabilizing for her than her appearances as an author-actress.

Hobrack’s entertaining novel itself initially seems a bit disordered, directionless, but the references right at the beginning to the core stories with Paul and Mara’s existence as impostors, which ultimately ended badly, are irritating, like a makeshift literary construction to break the chronology of events, are therefore superfluous.

The alternation between personal and first-person perspective is also not always coherent, just as little as the unique perspectives of the PR agent and Paul. Nevertheless, the parallelization of the real digital life in the social media with the real, authentic life that the autofictional literature simulates works here. Whether Schrödinger’s cat is still alive, whether a hug from a motherly friend or a digital heart is better – everyone has to find out for themselves. The odds are always fifty to fifty.

To home page

Source: Tagesspiegel

Share this article:

Leave a Reply

most popular