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Leopard

Leopard

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Dass fast alles anders ist , by Ludwig Hohl

Daß fast alles anders ist. - Ludwig Hohl

The Swiss-German author Ludwig Hohl (1904-1980) calls the texts in Dass fast alles anders ist ( That Almost Everything Is Different ) "Betrachtungen, Träume, Erzählungen" (reflections, dreams, stories). And that they are - mostly brief, clearly viewed moments or situations presented in Hohl's characteristic manner and with his hard, clear language. I am reluctant to try to provide an overview, for such an overview would have to be somewhat abstract, and nothing in this book is abstract, and because it would misrepresent the variety of the pieces, many of which are only a few pages in length. What unifies these texts is Hohl's manner and language, and as I have indicated elsewhere, I find both to be very appealing.

Now that I think about how to give an idea of this text to someone who has never read anything by Hohl, it occurs to me that this book is like a blog, but a blog written by someone who can actually perceive, think and write; a blog in which there is no fawning, no bragging, no whining, no overt polemicizing. In Hohl's time, one of the primary roles of today's blogs was fulfilled by scratching down journal entries. But to write a journal would have been too personal, too egocentric for Hohl. His personal life, his daily experiences were of value to Hohl primarily as means to understand the world around him, not to understand himself, and certainly not to lionize himself. This lack of obsession with self, this countervailing obsession with the external world, along with his prose style - these draw me to him.

And now that I think about it some more, I am beginning to see possible parallels between Hohl and William T. Vollmann. But I haven't read enough by Vollmann to be sure yet. To be returned to, because I'm going to be reading a great deal more Vollmann...