Thoughts by author Christoph Fischer on the book:
Why I wrote THE BLACK EAGLE INN
I was born 25 years after the end of the war. Our history lessons at school ended with the year 1945. One of the most urgent and important questions remained unanswered for me: How did a country with so much shame and horror in its past recover and move forward? How could it? I don’t think anything can ever make up for what has happened and nobody can forgive or atone for the collective guilt. But can the new generation ever deservedly rid itself of the stigma the previous generation has brought to the country?
Only ten years after the end of the war a wave of Italian and Turkish Immigrants filled the hole in the German employment market, ten years after that a new right wing party formed in Germany.
The Sixties brought the Bader Meinhoff Complex, student revolts and family conflicts. Many of the young adults were disillusioned with politics and turned violent. It took a new generation of politicians to instigate a modernisation of German society.
We know about the Nuremberg Trials but what does the little man do with his broken country?
On Goodreads, I saw the author’s book trailer for Black Eagle Inn. It showed images so compelling that I requested a free copy of the book directly from the author to read and give my honest opinion in exchange. After reading Chapter 1, I took the unusual step of contacting Author Christoph Fischer and sharing with him my interpretations of my reading.
Let me explain: I was reading the book from a cultural standpoint, namely, from the personal perspective of actually having lived in various cities, towns and villages in Bavaria over a ten year period as a young adult. Consequently. I knew my reading was a misinterpretation of the author’s intent.
In other words, I wasn’t reading the author, I was reading my own experience, comparing my life to what I found in the book, taking issue with minor language points, finding several cultural artifacts that were inconsistent with my lived experience of Germany in the 80′s and 90′s. For instance, I found several parallels with the autobiographical novel, “Herbstmilch” (Autumn Milk), by Anna Wimschneider (1985), and consciously began using that book as a frame of reference to guide me through Chapter 1. (yes, I’m an old guy if I was a young man in 1985) Anyway, Author Christoph Fischer assured me that he had seen the movie, “Herbstmilch” (it came out in 1988) a long time ago but could scarcely remember it.
In sum, the author confirmed to me what I already knew: I wasn’t reading his book. I was reading something entirely different. It was my personal response to having the opportunity to “return” to Germany through the magic transport medium of this book.
Christoph kindly explained to me that the book was inspired by real people in his life, and specified who these people are and the distant relationship he had with them. It was therefore clear to me how the author had been able to write such convincing characters into this book, namely, they are born from his personal observations of real people, and brought to life powerfully in the roles he has assigned to each.
I am in complete agreement with the author when he states the book is character driven. The characters drive this book forward, relentlessly. The book is not a cultural exposition, though it has cultural artifacts throughout the book. It is not the Munich Oktoberfest,
On the contrary, it is real people, trying desperately to find out who they are, come to grips with the past, do the right things in the present, and somehow find a way to love themselves, with all their imperfections. In my opinion, this is not about redemption, its about loving yourself.
Finally, this is an awesome book, very well written, with dynamic characters who continually surprise the reader. The characters are the key in this book. Stay close to them, and they will provide you with an opportunity to get to know yourself, based on how you react to them, and of course, the way they make you feel.
One last note: Author Christoph Fischer is authentic. In this book you will find, besides memorable characters, the historical backdrop, a well structured plot, topics that make you reflect long after the reading is done, all of this, yes, but also you will find yourself “seeing”, “hearing” and “smelling” the sights, sounds and smells of a bygone era in Germany. Fischer paints pictures in your mind in this book, with such talent and skill, that he is equal to the masters of the writing craft. He is amazing and it is a pleasure to read his author’s “canvas”…
This is a superbly exquisite book that I feel is a must-read. It is my absolute pleasure to give it my highest possible recommendation, 5 stars, and somehow feel sad that I could not give it more stars…
Reviewed by Thomas Jerome Baker
Author of Story Tellers: In Pursuit of Happiness