Haarlem, February 1948. Manno Loch works and lives in a modest atelier studio on the top floor of the Kokstraat 6. One day, he receives an envelope, and he recognizes the handwriting on it as that of a former Viennese friend. This brings him back to memories of his past in Haarlem, in Vienna from 1916 onwards, and of the creation of a friendship group he would be a part of for almost twenty years.
After faith had taken his life from him at a young age, Manno has not been able to take it back; he continues to be the onlooker in the lives of others, and he lives his own life in service of that of his friends, functioning as the singing bowl of their outspoken words, as water on which light reflects to others, like any external existence needs a medium to be perceived. Manno’s words serve to sharpen the thoughts of his friends and to make their actions visible, and, without him realizing, his friends start using him as a pawn in their game…
Whereas the term ‘family’ (nature) was the main theme in Viktor, Judith Fanto uses her new novel, which is also based on true facts, to explore the phenomenon of ‘chosen family’ (culture): friends. In friendship, it’s not the blood ties, but a disparate form of chemistry that plays a role. In a chemical reaction, different starting materials form a completely new product through their attraction to one another, with new characteristics. How does this chemical connection come to being between people? The connection that creates deep, close relations? What does it mean when a friend breaks your trust? And is the desire for retaliation inherent to the human being?
In this second novel, which combines psychological and historical characteristics again, Fanto broaches crucial themes, like the meaning of friendship and the mass murder of homosexuals during the Second World War. A special role in the story is reserved for fragrances, perfumes, essences, elixirs and concoctions, and their effect on body and spirit.
The new novel by Judith Fanto will come out at Ambo|Anthos Publishing House and is expected in the Autumn of 2023.
Would you like to ask or tell Judith Fanto something? Would you like to book her as a speaker or approach her for a piece of writing? Judith Fanto is best reached through the email addresses of her publisher and her literary agent Kitty Bakker.
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