A German book and Reese Thomas’ pursuit of happiness


To what lengths would you go to learn a book? Especially whether it is in a overseas language and is tough to search out? Most folks would shrug and transfer on. Not Reese Thomas.

Fascinated by an elusive German novel, the 27 year-old from Muvattupuzha close to Kochi, Kerala, first determined to study the language. “I tried learning German online so that by the time I found a copy of the book I could perhaps either read it or translate it. A few days in, I realised there was no way I’d learn enough to read a book with ease so I gave up.”

Nevertheless, he continued his search. The book in query is Wolfgang Herrndorf’s, Bilder Deiner Groben Liebe: Ein Unvollendeter Roman (Pictures of Your True Love), an unfinished sequel to the bestseller Tschick (Why We Took the Car in English).

Tschick (2010) is a coming-of-age story of two 14 year-old boys and their adventures as they drive round Berlin in a stolen automobile.

A lockdown mission

Tschick, made into a movie, was screened on the International Film Festival of Kerala (IFFK, 2016). Reese, who has assisted in movies resembling Kammattipadam, Carbon, Luca and the under-production Minnal Murali, noticed the movie adaptation and was deeply impressed.

“The protagonists — Maik and Tschick — meet a girl, Isa, and make a pact with her to meet 50 years later at the same spot. I couldn’t stop thinking about it, whether Isa and the guys meet or not. I wanted to know what happens,” says Reese.

The book’s cowl, a reproduction of the unique  

The movie, directed by Fatih Akin and launched in 2016, obtained him curious sufficient to learn the English translation of the book — Why We Took the Car — which he purchased on-line. He learnt that the book had a sequel, and that Herrndorf died, at 48 in 2013, leaving Bilder Deiner Goben Liebe (revealed posthumously in 2014) incomplete. The book, nonetheless, had not been translated into English.

Tracking it down turned his lockdown ‘project’. “Some people might find what I do crazy or think I am eccentric. But this makes me happy, things like this give me inner peace,” he says. In this unapologetic pursuit of happiness, Reese says he went to Mumbai, by prepare, in 2016, to observe Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge on the legendary Maratha Mandir film corridor, then on a prepare to return residence the identical day.

“I just wanted to see it… imagine a film being screened for close to 20 years in a theatre. I wanted to see the film there, for that reason,” he says.

The effort that he put into discovering the book makes the journey to Mumbai a cakewalk as compared.

Reese messaged the translator, Tim Mohr on Twitter and Fatih Akin enquiring if a translation was within the offing. Very quickly he had his reply — that Bilder… wouldn’t be translated.

He was disenchanted however not able to stop.

Giving a closure

Not desirous to learn in PDF format, he continued in search of the book, “There is nothing more joyful than reading a book, holding it in your hands, flipping the pages…” Reese says. He resorted to hashtags on Instagram to trace it. “If there was a chance I could find it, I wanted to find it,” he says of his determined search.

The search that started in May led to late June when he discovered Caitlin Arnold, in Munster (Germany), who had a duplicate. Caitlin photographed every web page and despatched the images to Reese, “the cover page included”.

Chasing a ardour

  • Inspiring tales have all the time Reese, and setting him off on journeys in search of the tales behind the folks. The set off could possibly be a book, a movie or any fascinating nugget of data that fascinates him. After watching the movie Ennu Ninte Moideen, he went to Mukkam, close to Calicut, to satisfy Kanchanamala. The movie relies on the love story of Moideen and Kanchanamala, which is one thing of a contemporary legend in Kerala.
  • Similarly Reese went to satisfy Malayalam author Kottayam Pushpanath earlier than his loss of life, as a result of he’s a fan, “It is through those books that I got into the habit of reading,” he says. The Vaikom Mohamed Basheer fan has gone to Thalayolaprambu, close to Kottayam, the place Basheer lived a number of instances and as soon as to Beypore, in Calicut, the place the author spent his later life. Reese has been corresponding with author Paulo Coelho since he was in class.

“I extracted each passage, translated them using Google Translate and DeepL and pasted it on MS Word. Passage by passage, page by page I put my book together.” He then took printouts of his translation and certain them collectively.

While the unique had 144 pages, his model has 160 pages.

He has lastly completed studying his book. Was it definitely worth the effort?

Reese says, “It is scattered, incomplete. It was a difficult time for Herrndorf who was undergoing treatment for glioblastoma (brain tumour) while he was writing it and that shows. The reader can feel his grief. He was looking for a co-author to finish the book but it didn’t work out. As a note in the appendix says ‘Herrndorf accepted that no co-author would be found if everyone but him thought a book by Wolfgang Herrndorf must be written by Wolfgang Herrndorf and by no one else’.”

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