I spoke recently about going back to a German author I greatly appreciated, Julie Zeh. Last weekend I was at the lending library and came across ‘Décompression’ not yet translated into English. This book took a short week to read, a thriller with two voices
Sven the narrator, a complex and emotionally fragile diving instructor who has never loved, who avoids decisions and conflict, who has left Germany and thus halted his own maturity process and will discover infatuation. The second voice is provided by exerpts from Jola’s diary, Jola’s is one of his two diving trainees, her partner Theo being the other, we discover a perverse love triangle, the two voices diverge in their description of events and escalating verbal as well as physical violence lead us to an inevitable climax where Sven will have to choose between right and wrong and live with the consequences of his choice.
The story is set in the expat community on the Island of Lanzarote, creating the effects of confinement whilst treating an outdoor theme.
An enjoyable read and a writer I will continue to follow.
First published in Germany as Nullzeit in 2012 by Schöfling + co
Translated into English by John Cullen and published in 2014 by Harvill Secker
Translated into French by Mathieu Dumont and published in 2013 by Actes Sud