Volker Röhlich

In his autobiographical first novel, Volker Röhlich tells a coming-of-age story from the eyes of a boy, of life in a West German estate in the 1960s and 1970s: a place excluded from society and discriminated against, a world which stifles development, thwarts hopes, but ultimately fails to prevent escape. The book’s title Der Stolperer (the stumbler) refers to the narrator’s father, an accomplished stumbler, particularly when he has spent all evening in the pub. A general lack of affirmation and his father’s behaviour are among the reasons why the boy turns to crime; he wants to be better than the others in the estate; he wants out, wants more and begins stealing, then turns to burglary – till at the age of seventeen he ends up in prison, where the book ends. During his three-year sentence the author finished his schooling working in a variety of socio-cultural professions and as an actor before turning to writing. (2007)

Issue 2 - Winter 2007