Muse by Craig Ranapia

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Muse: Postcard from Cologne: Willst Du Mich Verarschen?

22 Responses

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Weiner Schnitzel for "lunch" at four in the afternoon is not wise, no matter what combination of churches, museums or art galleries you've done that day.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca,

    Seeing your Tweets at the right here. Think of postcards as mini art. Travels easy, frames well on return, and creates memorable art on the wall. Be getting the postcards Craig. Sounds fun if not exhausting so far. Are we going to get Amsterdam Pics? Yes please.

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 6796 posts Report Reply

  • Matt Perot,

    The German appetite for trash literature is huge, and anything with even vague reference to Helga Housewife's pays du jour Aotearoa is sure to sell well. I haven't read this or any of the rest of the series, but my immediate impression is more Downton Abbey than Mandingo. "Oh, Matiu" indeed.

    Deutschland • Since Nov 2006 • 13 posts Report Reply

  • Thomas Goodfellow,

    Sadly for the Cause of Knowledge (but most happily for me) I haven't met with any of these books so can only make wild conjectures. But from what I know of German romances and the amazon.de details it's a fair bet that it's more high-grade Mills & Boon than Aotearoa anthro 101: many yearning looks across surely unbreachable lines of privilege and class, tracts of scenery description that seem more like "Lord of the Rings" stage directions than anything you'd find in Maurice Shadbolt, and horses, lots of horses. She's shooting for a wide-open goal - NZ is perennially popular, most everybody says they want to travel there and one often sees signs advertising NZ travelogue talks (quaintly retrograde practice: people pay to attend a public lecture that at core is "what I did on my holiday" - but generally the speakers are good photographers and took notably long and wide-ranging holidays)

    As an outsider I shouldn't generalise, but the idealism in popular depictions of foreign lands is remarkable. On ZDF (literally TV2) there's a stream of lush romances set in Cornwall (over 100 so far) where upper-middle class types meet in country houses and grand hotels and you won't see a glimpse of a caravan park, let alone a clash between surly dispossessed local youth and second-home London lawyers. And many Germans fondly believe in the UK as a kind of Edwardian idyll of high teas and patched elbows, a frozen land of P.G. Wodehouse. I had the joy of seeing a group of Germans on a train that paused for a while on the elevated tracks above Deptford: they fell silent for a while looking out over the scruffy council estates and semi-derelict industrial sites and once the buzz of cognitive dissonance subsided one remarked thoughtfully "This is worse than what the Russians built after the war".

    But if Sarah Lark did sneak in some interesting history and culture then you can expect a wagonload of better-briefed tourists in the future: her books evidently all go into the best-seller lists. Plenty of them too, churned out briskly and weighing in around the 600-900 page mark:

    Im Land der weißen Wolke. 2007
    Das Lied der Maori. 2008
    Der Ruf des Kiwis. 2009
    Das Gold der Maori. 2010
    Im Schatten des Kauribaums. 2011
    Die Tränen der Maori-Göttin. 2012

    Germany • Since May 2012 • 12 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen Judd,

    High grade Mills and Boon. Don't have time for an extensive translation of the blurb at the moment, but think historical family saga in multiple volumes.

    Apparently "Sarah Lark" is the pseudonym of a German author who is a former tour guide. She has a line in medieval historical novels as "Ricarda Jordan."

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 3122 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes,

    And if you get to Hamburg I am sure David will relish this Miniatur Wunderland
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=ACkmg3Y64_s

    Peria • Since Dec 2006 • 5521 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes,

    Too late to edit grrr.

    Peria • Since Dec 2006 • 5521 posts Report Reply

  • Ray Gilbert,

    Those cover of Im Schatten des Kauribaums sure looks like it's supposed to be a South Island lakes type vista. Maybe she's writing about the rare and elusive Southern Kauribaum

    Since Nov 2006 • 104 posts Report Reply

  • jb,

    Sarah Lark
    Born Christiane Gohl 1958 in Bochum.
    Aka Ricarda Jordan and Elisabeth Rotenberg. Studied history and literature (Ph.D) Worked as a journalist, advertising copywriter and tour guide. Which is how she fell in lurv with NZ "magically drawn to its magical countryside" (that's what it says here, anyway) and started writing historical romantic novels based there. Writes horsey books for children and young adults. Lives in Spain, operates a small stud farm.
    Goodreads.com lists 7 titles (6 DE, 1 ES), average review 3.82)
    Interview on Histo-Couch.de titled " I know what makes women dream..."
    Read a Google translation here http://bit.ly/IKMcyb if you must. ("The Maori Wars weren't really "**wars**" - 16 dead on one side, 4 on the other...")
    As Thomas Goodfellow writes: the German public laps this sort of stuff up. There's still a strong belief in Clean/Green New Zealand, a pathological yearning for the unspoiled and more TV shows underpinning that than you can shake a stick at.
    Some very good travel documentaries on the regional public broadcasting - alive and well, I get 6 via cable - channels, an appalling (from a tourism marketing perspective) one a few years back on ZDF/TV2 (Mongrel Mob wedding in Waikato and boy-racers in Christchurch?) plus the usual cruise ship series (day trip by coach from Auckland takes in Rotorua, Southern Alps, Mt Taranaki., Napier and White Island...) and "heiress meets dream man and decides NOT to sell the (boiling mud pools among the kauris) land" stuff.

    Plus
    Not the Spanish Inquisition...! Trailer for her latest book for the Spanish market (Spoiler: be prepared for the Titanic to loom into view (0:10) in 1852)
    ...http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8DsBwrUZX64

    a.small.town.in.germany • Since Jan 2007 • 86 posts Report Reply

  • Islander, in reply to jb,

    Ye godlets!
    Thanks jb!
    (And I takiaue on behalf of the many many hundreds who died in the Land Wars ,either in fighting or from starvation or introduced illness. "Sarah Lark" is a no-nothing & a nithing insofar as Maori history is concerned, exploiting our land for her erroneous romances. May dire things happen to her.)

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • jb, in reply to Islander,

    May dire things happen to her

    54. Menopausal. Doomed to writing worthless pulp fiction.
    Is that nothing?

    a.small.town.in.germany • Since Jan 2007 • 86 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Islander,

    Ye godlets!
    Thanks jb!

    +1 one on that. I find this fascinating.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22830 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to jb,

    Sarah Lark
    Born Christiane Gohl 1958 in Bochum.
    Aka Ricarda Jordan and Elisabeth Rotenberg. Studied history and literature (Ph.D) Worked as a journalist, advertising copywriter and tour guide. Which is how she fell in lurv with NZ "magically drawn to its magical countryside" (that's what it says here, anyway) and started writing historical romantic novels based there. Writes horsey books for children and young adults. Lives in Spain, operates a small stud farm.

    It sounds like she must be doing very well. Cracking the horsey-book market is profitable (look at Stacey Gregg) -- her also having a line in popular romantic histories is quite extraordinary.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22830 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    More seriously, I’m kind of embarrassed that the same bookstore (which, as far as I could tell was part of a chain a couple of notches up-market of Whitcoulls) carried a hell of a lot of non-German literature in translation. And not just the quote-unquote “classics” and transnational pop trash. (If I was so inclined, I could be staggering home with complete sets of the Hunger Games trilogy & A Song of Fire and Ice in German, French, Danish, Swedish, Dutch, Italian & Spanish.)

    I wouldn’t have a clue how Alan Bennett goes over in Deutsche, but there’s copies of Die souveräne Leserin all over the place, and the English language section of the huge Dussmann KulturKaufhaus on Berlin’s Friedrichstrasse (think Borders that was on steroids) is better stocked than most stores in New Zealand.

    Humbling, in a good way.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Hebe, in reply to jb,

    May dire things happen to her
    54. Menopausal. Doomed to writing worthless pulp fiction.
    Is that nothing?

    Could be 35 and cleaning toilets. Know who I would rather be.

    Christchurch • Since May 2011 • 2898 posts Report Reply

  • Thomas Goodfellow, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

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    Berlin can be almost exaggeratedly international and multicultural, to the extent that I've heard other Germans half-jokingly expect a car with a "B" license plate to be driven so "differently" that a cop will wave them down, only to hear "But that's how we always drive in Berlin!" and then the cop will shrug and let them go. So in a smaller city you'll have a more Whitcoullian experience (and a German who spent only a few minutes in Whitcoulls might reel out wondering "do they read anything beyond sporting memoirs?")

    Some of the cultural importation is simply due to scale - 100 million native German vs 350+ million native English speakers. Another root may have been national shame - until the 2006 world cup it was notably rare for private citizens to show a flag, it smacked too much of nationalism and a slippery slope. Nice educated types
    diluted the beast within with transfusions of foreign culture. And perhaps this also lends itself to rose-tinted views of other countries: after a good self-lash & abnegation over Prussian belligerence and the Holocaust it seems that no other history can contain such horrors, hence the NZ Wars can be airily dismissed? (or that was just the author's PR speaking - keep NZ history a simple happy fairy tale for an audience who've come for simple happy tales)

    For another good humbling do have a leaf through the weekly "Die Zeit" newspaper - a great slab of quality journalism, long articles on a broad range of topics, even notably good illustrations and graphic design (for a paper). The picture is the front page they ran for Darwin's 150th birthday - sadly for most papers doing a 6 page Darwin + evolution feature would be either too worthy or too "confrontational". Makes the Saturday Herald ("the big paper that lasts all weekend" as the tagline was) look very pale - with Die Zeit most readers probably don't find enough time to read it all in the whole damn week.

    Germany • Since May 2012 • 12 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic, in reply to Thomas Goodfellow,

    Berlin can be almost exaggeratedly international and multicultural, to the extent that I've heard other Germans half-jokingly expect a car with a "B" license plate to be driven so "differently" that a cop will wave them down, only to hear "But that's how we always drive in Berlin!" and then the cop will shrug and let them go.

    Anyone still driving the notorious Trabis?

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5429 posts Report Reply

  • jb, in reply to Thomas Goodfellow,

    Even the sports section of the "Süddeutsche" givers the "Listener" a run for its money....

    a.small.town.in.germany • Since Jan 2007 • 86 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

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    DOUBLE POST DELETED

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

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    Anyone still driving the notorious Trabis?

    I'm sure someone somewhere is suffering for the sake of DDR kitsch, but I did sit in one at the Deutsches Technikmuseum and take a magical mystery tour to Stasiland… It smelled of damp, rust and futile resignation but the kids loved it. Weird little sods.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Sophie – I can’t frigging believe I didn’t get yours and Steve’s address when we last met. Could you please DM me and I'll rectify the lack of postcardage immediately.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    I'm sure someone somewhere is suffering for the sake of DDR kitsch, but I did sit in one at the Deutsches Technikmuseum and take a magical mystery tour to Stasiland… It smelled of damp, rust and futile resignation but the kids loved it. Weird little sods.

    More amusingly still, the Trabi passed the 'moose test' where the original - and over-engineered - Merc A-Class didn't.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5429 posts Report Reply

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