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article imageReview: The Invention of the Big Bang by Fred Schäfer Special

By Katie Ryalen     Oct 1, 2012 in Arts
With his novel The Invention of the Big Bang, author Fred Schäfer takes the reader on a wonderfully philosophical journey in which life's most pressing questions are considered ... and left pleasantly unresolved.
Recently released on Amazon.com is Author Fred Schäfer’s novel The Invention of the Big Bang. It is one of thirteen novels for the author, written in both English and German, of which ten are currently available for download to Amazon’s Kindle applications and devices. In this work, Schäfer chews over some of life’s most pressing philosophical questions ... and gets absolutely nowhere in a thoroughly satisfying way.
The story follows the life of Ludwig, the quintessential dreamer who may—or may not—be from Germany (as the author asserts with a touch of humour, his nationality is an unimportant detail and may be changed depending on the requirements of the narrative). From the age of fifteen when he runs away from his parents’ home, to his marriage to wife Gina, to their immigrating to the United States, the reader accompanies Ludwig on a journey which spans the course of a lifetime.
It is a journey which examines, sometimes with stark reality and sometimes with languid meandering, such issues as financial inequality and starting a family; the kinds of issues that keep all of us, at one point or another, up at night pondering.
However, where so many similar works tend to stagnate because of this meandering style of narrative, necessary though it may be, The Invention of the Big Bang does not. Rather, the story is cleverly carried forward by the events of Ludwig’s past, which is shadowed by the underbelly of the bohemian world in the Cold War era.
The Invention of the Big Bang is an intricately woven and compelling story. But perhaps what makes it truly interesting is the author’s writing style: lazy, in that it tends to ramble and wander in a way that is strangely addictive. As one reviewer notes, Fred Schäfer's style is reminiscent of that of Kurt Vonnegut, in which the author treats you to his innermost thoughts while weaving his story of love and hate, creating a conversation between the author and his readers. In this way the author, as narrator of the story, becomes a loveable character himself. To the reader he is the quintessential grandfather figure who likes to reminisce, and who will get around to telling his story in his own good time.
When asked where his ideas come from, Schäfer points to an excerpt (translated from German) from one of his other novels, Ohnmächtiger Mann (Impotent Man): It is amazing how quickly a new book is written ... Luckily I’ve never in my life suffered from writer’s block, no matter what I’ve written: a memo for my boss, a feasibility study for a new computer system, [etc.] The act of writing is for me ... an exciting journey, an immersion into another world, a mysterious world and reality of my thoughts that I never knew...
With rare talent, Schäfer weaves together a complicated yet realistic story of a true dreamer and the people with whom he shares his life. But what makes this book a truly worthwhile read is the way the auxiliary characters are portrayed, with as much life and depth as the main character. Through them and the way they fit into Ludwig's tale, the author reminds us that one person's story is never the story of one person.
The Invention of the Big Bang is a wonderfully philosophical novel; entertaining and thought-provoking at the same time.
More about Fred Schäfer, Fiction, Germany, Bohemian, Amazon
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