The Imperial Hotel

Author: Adolf Muschg
Translator: Alan Robinson


During the bus journey the metropolis had insinuated itself seamlessly. The apartment blocks, covered in advertising, crowned by enormous characters, their façades overrun by videos, squeezed closer together, pushing first green spaces, then the streets between them into the depths below. The multi-lane highway had also needed to climb in order to cut a wide swathe through the mass of dwellings, on which one lost all sense of speed. At what seemed a leisurely pace, the bus advanced amid a procession of disparate vehicles, which now overtook on the right, now fell back on the left, to get in lane for one of the exits marked in white writing on green signs. High up in the distance to the right, the Skytree, the city’s new landmark, peeped between the wandering towers, then was cut off from view, only to re-emerge larger in the next vista. The sky was an immaculate blue, every outline was etched clearly, free of haze. To Paul Neuhaus, his khaki bag on his knees, the settlement now beginning to envelop the road from all sides appeared immensely orderly and completely unmysterious.

Finally the bus branched off too, descended a ramp into the bustle of ordinary street traffic, and resigned itself to a slow crawl from one traffic light to the next, until, after weaving round several corners and passing well-kept parks, it reached a congested terminal which, the microphone voice announced, was Tokyo Station. From here the Imperial Hotel was only a few steps away. But first he had to get from the bus station to the train station. Or was he there already?

Having made it across a dozen lanes of traffic to the building on the far side, he was now apparently in the station: every departure board breathed the consummate efficiency of Japanese railways. He was directed to innumerable destinations, an escalator led up or down from every platform, but none to the Imperial Hotel. And the longer he wandered among shopping areas and columns of pedestrians, the more he realised that this station was a city in its own right. He didn’t want to ask anyone, having learned from previous experience that communication problems merely added to one’s disorientation and it was simply ridiculous to be unable to find the exit from a station. In the end he took the first one he saw. Admittedly, he now knew less than ever where he was, but rescue was at hand: a taxi.

So much for a few steps! The drive to the hotel seemed to take ages, past some kind of fortifications, with a moat and gigantic walls, behind which only treetops were visible – the Imperial Palace? – ending up again in a covered, multi-lane terminal. Right in front of them was the bus that had brought him from the airport, for he recognised the driver waiting in front of the empty luggage compartment.

Imperial Hotel? Paul Neuhaus enquired.

There, said his own driver, pointing to the rear of the terminal. An array of clay-brown uniforms was indeed standing in attendance there, and when the door beside Paul sprang open – he also had to get used to self-opening taxi doors – a porter hastened to his car.

Welcome in the Imperial Hotel, Sir, he said. No baggage?

I hope you already have it.

Paul remembered in time that the taxi-driver would have regarded a tip as an insult.

So much for his first steps in Japan. He didn’t part with his bag, however, and entered the hotel with an honest No thanks and a forced smile.

Once through the revolving door, he examined his fingernails, ran a comb through his hair and freshened his breath with a spray. The ground floor lobby had only artificial light but gleamed like amber. What first caught his eye was a large circular bowl surmounted by a globe of white flowers. Above it, as a counterpoise, hung a chandelier covered by white parchment. The golden-brown lobby was supported by columns of the same hue, which disappeared at the top into square openings, capitals of sheer light. Dark armchairs were abundantly distributed in numerous alcoves, and bands of fabric in a spectrum from golden yellow to deep brown ran the entire length of the left-hand wall. The right-hand wall was occupied by a row of desks, at the first of which his suitcase was already waiting. But where were his friends?

Suddenly a gentleman in black attire appeared before him, raised his hands and then seized Paul’s own, which he pressed tremblingly for some time.

Could this be Ken-ichi Tenma, Ken? His once luxuriant hair was now thin, receding at the temples and – as he bowed towards Paul – revealed the beginnings of a tonsure. But his large eyes gazed piercingly as ever, vibrated as it were with resoluteness beneath his oddly raised eyebrows. Even when he wasn’t speaking his lips twitched, as if the whole man was charged with nervous energy. The tic was new. He’d condemned himself to making constant witticisms in the days when he still turned up in jeans – a characteristic phrase was I don’t allow anybody to believe that I am Japanese. But his dark outfit was conventional only at first glance; a second look detected its stylish cut and almost clerical collar.

Welcome to Japan! he cried, at the same time sweeping his arm with a showman-like flourish towards the armchair from which a woman in a white kimono now rose. Mitsuko had already appeared to Paul in a dream, but with no face. Now this face greeted him with a shy smile, which vanished immediately when he tentatively shook hands with her. She too was older, wore her hair in a tight chignon and white make-up on her face; the brows above her narrow eyes were pencil-thin, the lips above her strong chin were pursed. In her kimono she now also reminded Paul of the doubled Harunobu figure above his desk. However, this time she began to speak German, hesitantly, but with faultless grammar and much closer to colloquial speech than her husband’s stilted idiom. It emerged that she now gave German lessons herself, having trained at an international school for interpreters.

On the rare occasions he allowed her to say something, Ken passed over her reticent comments discourteously, even brusquely. Long-serving married couples evidently displayed no affection here either – the less so, as convention dictates that one disparage one’s possessions. That Mitsu had dropped the -ko from her first name occurred to Paul only later; she had used the polite form at first. When she bowed, the silver outline of a crane was visible on the back of her kimono.

Ken seized on this ‘conversation piece’ to rectify the mistake. It was the phoenix that had accompanied Tezuka Osamu’s life’s work, his symbol of rebirth in fire. – Did Ken still draw manga? – He was no longer innocent enough for that. He had once dreamed of publishing books, and manga would soon be the last ones printed; whether they were worth the paper was a different question.

But before we celebrate our reunion, don’t you want to go to your room? It’s on the 29th floor. I can accompany you: it’s somewhat complicated to find.

He wanted to drink a toast first, Paul objected. His suitcase would surely find its own way to the room.

Ken gave the porter appropriate instructions; then he suggested the bar in the furthest, slightly elevated part of the lobby, it was still quiet and you could smoke there. – I don’t need to smoke, said Paul. – But I do! Ken replied, with a nervous laugh. Paul’s suitcase was wheeled to the lift, while the friends withdrew to the almost empty stage behind the still silent orchestra podium. They sat in the corner of the balustrade, overlooking the art nouveau lobby and the toing and froing of guests. Ken studied the drinks menu intensively and, until the right champagne arrived in its ice bucket, silence reigned at the table. They raised their glasses, after Paul had requested that they resume addressing each other informally, as ‘Du’; but the mood wasn’t yet convivial.

To everyone’s health! Ken could understand Paul’s wish to pay his respects to Frank Lloyd Wright. Wright’s hotel had even survived the carpet bombing. The Americans had taken care to spare it: after all, they’d needed quarters befitting their rank as victors. Back in 1923, the year it was built, the hotel had fortunately withstood the Great Kantō Earthquake, thanks to the floating foundations on which Mr Wright had erected his monumental ‘H’ structure in pre-Columbian Maya style. What had finally killed it was the Japanese economic miracle. Room prices would have been prohibitive if the airspace spurned by Wright’s flat Palace had remained unused. His monument had therefore been demolished and reassembled in an open-air museum near Nagoya, while in Tokyo the obligatory skyscraper was constructed – with the decoration here as a fig leaf.

You’re staying in a fake, explained Ken, gesturing with his half-smoked papirosa, to accustom you to the fakery in our next economic boom – involving Fukushima, of course. The deadline’s rather tight to get everything cleaned up before the 2020 Olympics, if you consider the half-life of trivium, strontium, caesium and their cronies, but the government’s motto is: Yes, we can! And only ten kilometres away from our Great Work, radiation levels are now said to be almost healthy.

Or do you doubt our prowess in transforming a defunct nuclear reactor into the industry of the future? Dai-Ichi is a laboratory, a testing ground for techniques that we need in any case, but now post-haste. Robots, for example, that don’t conk out with radiation. Now all they’ve got to do is locate the melted uranium, so that we can dispose of it – by then, we’ll have figured out where. What do the Russians have so much space for? Surely a ‘deal’ could be struck there. Perhaps the radiation can be used for heating? There’s always a demand for that in Hell and why shouldn’t the Devil agree on a decent price? After all, we’ve been in business since Hiroshima and Nagasaki and our reactors aren’t decorated with Buddhist wisdom for nothing. In principle, nuclear energy is still the cheapest kind, humans simply have to adapt their capacity, perhaps arrange for a mutation that can cope with it. But do we still need an organism, when computers manage so much better? If they require feelings to reproduce, that can surely be programmed. And why should a bot fear a chain reaction, if it can feed on it? At last we’d have created a perpetuum mobile – time would no longer matter if every day is Judgement Day!

Ken is rather embittered, Mitsu warned, but he ignored her.

Okay, this might take some time. Luckily, the nuclear core doesn’t stink any more than all the cash that’s already been invested in its disposal. And until it stops stinking all that counts is making it profitable. Larger than life! And when will it have been successfully disposed of? Quite simply, when we have other cares at our disposal! Why must we take such a narrow view of Dai-Ichi? Why shouldn’t the tsunami have sparked off a whole new exchange of elements? Seawater in, nuclear power out! Why are we constantly flooding the ruin with water which doesn’t cool it anyway? Why don’t we make a cognitive leap and regard the extinguishing water as the amniotic fluid of a new Creation? Why not throw a counterpunch: scientific versus maritime tsunami? Be my guest: just a small quantum leap in planetary evolution! Then the no-go zone where stray cattle munch grass until it kills them, where wild boar storm well-kept homes, where carparks full of new cars are overgrown – then the desert of civilisation will herald a futurity beyond rationality! Turn no-go into go-go, then humanity will have been taken care of and you’ll be able to say you were there when it happened!

Conversation at the bar fell silent; new arrivals also cast doubtful glances at the Japanese gentleman who was clearly laying down the law to an older westerner, in German and in the presence of a mortified, formally dressed Japanese woman – and wasn’t done yet.

But they tell us that the first step is always the hardest and that what Japan now needs above all is for settlers to return to the contaminated areas – guinea pigs who will of course be properly compensated for their laboratory lives.

Because let’s be honest: what do we really know about the long-term effects of radiation? We mustn’t allow ourselves to be distracted by the tragic fates of some individuals. They need to be reconfigured for public consumption; just as digital images are Photoshopped. With that there’s no limit – why should there be one for human resilience? Up to now this has been mere assertion; the disaster finally offers a chance to test it. Who’ll still be around in the so-called no-go zone in a few years’ time? In what state, and with what degree of consciousness? What will become of families, or relationships? Might this not be the start of a new success story for homo sapiens, in which humanity – after a certain transformation of its values – celebrates its rebirth? Perhaps with a little help from our friends, the genetic engineers? Who knows? But why not take a chance, if only because we’re left with no alternative?

Of course, the whole thing could only work if it was kept under wraps – at least until the public is completely malleable and one alternative fact is as good as another. We’re well on the way there already. Adversity could become prosperity overnight, and Japan be the first country to realise it – at the very core of globalised civilisation!

Ken was driven by a grim nervous energy that left Paul dumbfounded. Something had to erupt, but it wasn’t clear why it had to be now – unless Ken was making it his business to shock his guest and torment his wife. However, Mitsu was now sitting composedly, as if her husband’s outburst was no longer her concern.

Ken was smoking constantly, his fingers trembled, but he didn’t seem drunk.

Do you know that Prime Minister Kan wanted to evacuate the city of Tokyo in March 2011?

Yes, said Paul. Suzanne and I had just flown to Japan. Gai-jin, Fly-jin didn’t apply to us.

That was when you visited Tadao Ando, said Ken. Ah, these daredevil architects!

It’s a pity your wife couldn’t come with you, said Mitsu.

A great pity, echoed Ken. – Now we will have to look after Paul. You must get an early night and eat properly again. I’ve made a reservation in the sushi restaurant here in the basement. The fish will certainly be fresher than on your flight. Or would you prefer Chinese?

We’ll also need to discuss our trip, said Paul. I’ll just unpack a few essentials beforehand in my room.

Take the lift over there to the mezzanine, then go straight ahead to the far end of the shopping arcade, about fifty metres, until you reach a glass door. Open it with your card and then you’re already in front of the lifts to the 29th floor. We’ll wait here. Take your time.

When Paul stood outside room 2917 and swiped the key card over the sensor, he had a sense of déjà vu: the Swiss Hotel in Chicago, when he’d tried the wrong room door. He walked into the small room – furnished functionally, it seemed – and headed past his waiting suitcase towards the view from the window. He felt both exhausted and breathless, as if Ken’s tirade had sucked the air out of his reunion with Japan. Of course the window couldn’t be opened at this height. Luckily, the air conditioning was silent.

Paul stared past the neighbouring skyscrapers at the park beneath his feet, in which, here and there, he could make out a low roof. So this was the Imperial Palace. He hadn’t been in Tokyo before but felt he already knew this vista of canyon-like streets and railway tracks from the film Lost in Translation. Any social obligation was really too much for him today. How he would have loved just to lie down on his bed and close his eyes.


Excerpted from Adolf Muschg, Heimkehr nach Fukushima.  (Coming Home to Fukushima).  Verlag C.H. Beck, Munich, 2018.

Those Present

Author: Dorothee Elmiger
Translator: Alan Robinson

This is a memorandum from the future.

     A bird is sitting peacefully on the shoulder of Michael Ibo Sperberbaechel, the boxer. Light falls into the room through the windows, just missing the creature. In the kitchen, John Klein is making coffee.

      Elfi Baum, the student, and Hans-Peter Finsterhaus, the famous trumpeter, have just arrived and are shaking the snow off their coats.

      Marie-Louise Ach, a textile designer, has been working silently for some hours at the kitchen table, her child Hannes is sleeping in the room next door, and the poet Franz Abdu has also fallen asleep in an armchair; he had a long journey to get here. A typographer is leafing through a book.

      Silvia Tobler and Marion Jacobo, academics, are standing at the window. These are those present; they speak softly.

    This is a chair, they say. This is the kitchen table. This is Elfi Baum’s coat in the hall. They say: This is a summer, an autumn, this is a winter. They say: This is a European city. They say: This is an American landscape with trailer. This is a southern mountain range, continues someone tentatively, this is a spring. This is a soldering iron. This is a carpet knife and this a sewing machine. This is a sickle, someone adds, and this a hatchet. This is the last village in the valley. This is Italy.

      And they resume: This is the bird on the boxer’s shoulder, which is sleeping and breathing peacefully. This is the deepest gorge in the mountains, this is the highest mountain in the land. This is the university. This is the brewery. This is the spindle factory. This is the flat of Elfi Baum, the student, says Elfi Baum, as if to herself. These are the boxer’s gloves. So this must be a boxer. This is spring, yet again. This is the bed that Hannes sleeps in. This is the bed that Marie-Louise Ach sleeps in. This is the table where the typographer works. This is the ring where the boxers stand. These are the poplars in front of student Baum’s kitchen window.

      This is the present. This is the Weser, this is the Rhine, the Spree, the Sitter, the Emme, the Danube, this is the Po. This is an American landscape, with not a soul in sight. This is an American landscape in the Southern states. This is Berlin. These are Mother and Father Baum on a trip through primeval forests. This is a rear courtyard. This is winter. This is a year. This is a continent. This is a continent in the future. This is a night in the city. These are trains, buses, cars.

      This is yesteryear which echoes softly. This is the mouth of Hans-Peter Finsterhaus, the trumpeter, playing a song which winds through the slow afternoon hours ever upwards, far beyond the roofs to the heavens. This is a sudden darkening of the sky as a thunderstorm gathers, this turmoil which rages and thunders far above. This is the bird’s body on the boxer’s shoulder. These are European towns. This is the sixties.

      These are the years 2011 to 2061. This is the future, and this is the past.

      This is John Klein making coffee in the kitchen, says the typographer, glancing fleetingly at him. This is a foreman. This is a double bass player. This is a farmer. This is the bright morn. These are three empty offices in Hamburg docks.

      This is New Year. This is New Year. This is New Year. This is New Year, and someone is standing at the kitchen window, watching the fireworks and musing on the feelings that arise; that was me, murmurs Marie-Louise Ach. This is the poet Franz Abdu. This is the moment when Marie-Louise Ach falls asleep.

      This is an apple, one apple, these are two. This is death. This is the poet Franz Abdu reflecting on death. This is an American landscape with Bob Dylan, without Bob Dylan, with Bob Dylan.

    This is not the present. This is the journey through the past. This is the mouth of Finsterhaus the trumpeter in the future. This is Franz Abdu, dreaming of a crate on which three men once sat and armed themselves with long sausage spits. This is the same dream, when some others tried to climb onto the crate, but by then it was already too late, the sausage spits already sharpened. This is speaking reflectively, says Marion Jacobo, who is standing at the window, and this is a stream, it flows rolls reels falls into the ravine. This is the ravine. This is the ravine where it’s always cool and the moss smells good, do you remember?

      This is Europe. This is the central European time zone. This is time as a whole. This is death. This is death not yet. This is the fear of time passing. This is the fear of oblivion. This is a female refused asylum seeker. These are two male refused asylum seekers, these are five male refused asylum seekers, these are thirteen female refused asylum seekers. These are five hundred and eighty male and female refused asylum seekers. This is a spoon, this a fork. This is a knife. This is an unfamiliar face.

      This is my, this is my, this is my hand writing here. This is my hand writing in the future. This is my mouth that is speaking and will speak. This is a cordless drill. This is a bandsaw. This is a sawmill, this a hammer, the sickle, a hatchet. This is the illumination, the luminescence, the lamps below ground. These are the lightning flashes of a distant storm.

    This is a minaret. Hans-Peter Finsterhaus comments: This is a winter night and this the keen wind that cuts through you. This is the day at 4 pm, when everything is still distinct, but evening is already lurking on the farthest horizon. This is the end of days. These are still early days. This is the national border. This is the retreat into the Alps. This is the securing of the border crossings. This is the profound sadness. This is an apple, this is an apple, are two. This is Elfi Baum in the lecture theatre, says Elfi Baum of herself. These are the ones with the sausage spits on the crate in Abdu’s dream. They are the same ones, they call out incessantly, even shout hoarsely: But then it was already too late, but now it’s far too late, hey, Order! down there. This is the bird that sleeps and sighs on Sperberbaechel’s shoulder.

      These are five recruits vaulting over a horse. These are five recruits forming a triple-decker pyramid. These are five recruits, who have been running round in circles for eleven hours, I saw them myself, laughs Franz Abdu in his sleep.

      These are the mountains in the pallid light, the failing light. These are some animals browsing. This is the fox’s earth, a fox is barking inside. This is the memory of that. This is an expulsion from a public square. This is a sports club. This is the Brunnental Gymnastics Group. This is the mixed choir. This is the swimming club. This is the Harmony Brass Band in uniform, it’s new, this is the Harmony Brass Band’s new uniform. This is the student fraternity, these are the probationary members, these are the prospective members. This is the Grapes the White Horse the Lion the Crown. This is a family of four eleven minutes before their deportation. These are five recruits, who are still running round in circles. This is the Bear and this the Sun.

    These are fourteen foreign-looking men selling drugs at Herisau station. This is Robert Walser standing at Herisau station. These are fourteen foreign-looking tourists being welcomed at Herisau station by the tourist officer waving a small flag.

      This is a minaret on Säntis. This is an Alpine stronghold. This is a nation. This is a statesman. This is a civil right. This is a Swiss. This is a true Swiss. This is the very opposite of a Swiss. This is a Swiss woman. These are twenty-one schoolchildren, who can draw the outline of Switzerland by heart.

      This is the firmament, the stars O so low in the sky, then the sun again: This is the sun. This is the sun, which then again has risen, this is the sun, which once again has risen. This is the sun in the South. This is the sun in the West. This is night.

      This is a catastrophe. These are the ones who sneaked over the border, these are the black sheep, the intruders. This is the foreign rabble, dead tired. These are the dead tired. This is a makeshift shelter with windows. This is a makeshift shelter without windows.

      This is the poet Franz Adbu, his arms flailing helplessly. This is Hans-Peter Finsterhaus, desperately playing an upbeat.

      This is the fear of the days to come.

      This is exchange, quid pro quo. This is a job. This is work in general and this is then oblivion. These are the dead. These are those absent. These are Silvia Tobler and Marian Jacobo, determinedly standing at the window.

    This is an honest attempt and at the same time a failure. This is my contribution. This is my hand writing here. This is my imagined hand in the future writing here, while John Klein is making coffee, the stream is plunging into the ravine, five recruits on the sports field in Frauenfeld are playing dodge ball and two asylum seekers in the last row of an aircraft with blankets over their heads are being transported out of the country.

      This is the onset of darkness. This is me, Hans-Peter Finsterhaus, walking home at night, says Hans-Peter Finsterhaus. This is the first frosty night of the year. These are the days to come, preying on my mind, says the typographer.

      This is a love. This is a runway. This is a harbour, this a quay. These are hills, valleys, cross-country buses. This is a penis. This the foreskin, the glans nuts berries, thicket, undergrowth. This is the skin with its many blemishes. This is the history of bodies, of skin, of gender in the future. This is a breast, a dark courtyard, the door, the field, the hollow. This is the indeterminate landscape.

      This is sex. These are some questions, posed afresh. This is the gender question. This is the body question. This is the question of what connects the body with freedom. This is a body, to be seated on a chair and bound as follows: at the ankles, at the lower leg, above the knee, below the hip and with a special rope contraption around the shoulders and then pushed into the aircraft. This is the reality. This is a report. This is a poem. This is a list. This is a proposal.

      This is a memorandum from the future. This is reality, and this is reality, this is reality too, says Marie Louise-Ach, bent over the kitchen table. This is reality in the future. This is an essay about reality in the future. These are a thousand birds in the yard. This is Lake Fählen, this Lake Lucerne Walen Constance, a flooded gravel pit. This is fictitious. This is invented and not true. This is fabricated or rather: feared. This is today in thirty years’ time.

    This is Franz Abdu dreaming of the ones on the crate, who strike up a singsong to the beat of the hammering sausage spits: But then it was already too late, bet then et wes elreedy tee leet, bit thin it wis ilriidy tii liit. These are the ones sitting on the crate, ever more numerous in their swan song, singing: But thun ut wus ulruudy tuu luut, bat than at was alraady taa laat, they scream. This is power. This is its exercise. This is exerting force. This is an exercise. This is just an exercise. This is harmless. This is not the emergency. These are preparations for the emergency. This is a warning of the emergency. This is an Alpine stronghold. These are seven hundred and eleven male and female refused asylum seekers. This is one apple, one apple, so two.

      This is Elfi Baum; I am at my wit’s end, she whispers. This is John Klein, who in his despair makes coffee again and again, says the typographer. These are the dead tired, says John Klein, mere shadows of their former selves, who have disappeared in the shelter without windows, in the container, in the furthermost corner.

      These are the shadows in the rooms. These are the ones whose names no one here has ever heard. These are the ones with terror breathing down their neck.

      These are the ones with the supermarket vouchers. These are the ones who spend their days in the supermarket cafeteria. This is oblivion.

      This is the emergency, says Marie-Louise Ach, in a loud voice now. This is exerting force. This is not an exercise. This is not a poem, and this is not fictitious. This is the present. This is a continent. This is the central European time zone.

      This is a performance-oriented society, this an identity check, and these are five recruits still running round in circles. This is the silent boxer with the sleeping bird on his shoulder. This is Marie-Louise Ach, whose child is sleeping in the room next door. This is still capitalism. These are in front of the window the birds, the thousand. This is a restless sleep. This is discontent. This is the discontent that my hand feels. This is my mouth that is speaking here and will speak. This is my mouth that is twitching here, a shout, a shout, a roar.

      This is the moment when I fainted, Elfi Baum recounts. This is the moment when I stood up once more, recounts Michael Ibo Sperberbaechel, the boxer.

      These are in front of the window the birds, the thousand, they are laying their eggs, arranging their feathers, whirling upwards in the sun that will soon have departed. This is the rear courtyard, this is the mouth or the memory of the city.

      These are the three on the crate, the seven, eight or eleven with their never-ending swan song. These are the ones who allow only one another to sit on the crate. These are the ones who say that the crate must be defended. These are the crate defence measures. These are the ones who guard the crate with their rifle sausage spit penknife. This is an ode to the crate.

      This is an evening lullaby, so the child can sleep well, says Hans-Peter Finsterhaus. This is the desolate evening lull, after the child has fallen asleep. This is the announcement in the evening TV news that criminal Nigerians will soon have it coming to them.

    This is the truth. This can’t be true, says Michael Ibo Sperberbaechel. These are the birds, the thousand. This is an apple, one apple, these are two. These are the children, who sing that the crate may buckle, and the little mouse chuckle. These are the ones on the crate, who retort that by now it’s far too late. This is a human, this is a human. This is a human being.

      This is the question of whether this one or that one is human. This is the question of what kind of human being that is. This is the question of whether you can live well without windows. This is the question of whether you can fly well with a blanket over your head. This is the question of who, in the emergency, will be allowed into the Alpine stronghold. This is the question of whether in fact all’s well. This is the question of when the crate will buckle. This is the question of what it sounds like when a little mouse chuckles. This is finally the question about the contents of the crate, and this is an apple, one apple, these are two.


Die Anwesenden,” NZZ [Neue Zürcher Zeitung] Folio, September 2010