Short Stories, Irish literature, Classics, Modern Fiction, Contemporary Literary Fiction, The Japanese Novel, Post Colonial Asian Fiction, The Legacy of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and quality Historical Novels are Among my Interests

Friday, November 3, 2017

The Last Weynfeldt by Martin Suter - 2006, translated From German by Steph Morris

Adrian Weynfeldt, the central figture in The Last Weynfeldt by Martin Suter, was born into old money.  At around age fifty, he lives alone, though he does have a full time live out household manager and her various assistants, in a huge, elegantly furnished and decorated apartment.  He inherited the five story building in which it is located.  The remainder of the building is occupied by a bank.  Weynfeldt grew up in the apartment. Weynfeldt, childless, is the only child of his deceased parents, hence the title.  His apartment is a virtual museum.

Weynfeldt is highly educated, deeply knowledgeable on the visual arts, we don’t learn much about his reading life.  He has worked for many years for a highly prestigious art auction house, describing works for catalogs, providing expert opinions and valuing art, more for something to do than for the money. There is a lot of interesting material on the high end art business.  

Weynfeldt has two groups of friends.  One group is drawn from older people, all at least seventy, who were friends of his parents.  He also hosts a periodic evening meal at a very expensive restaurant, he is a gourmet and a oenophile.
Those in this group, he always pays bill telling himself his wealth obligates him, are younger.  Weynfeldt helps members of this group, as well as some older friends financially, some seem like parasites and I wondered if Weynfeldt is buying attention with his money.  Much of the opening third of the novel is a description of his life.  We learn of a woman he was long ago involved with but he has been single for a long time.  His manners are courtly, his dress refined and near arcane.

Weynfeldt likes to help others.  This impulse draws him into a complicated involvement with a younger woman, with a sinister background.  She uses his good side, his loneliness and sex to try to ensare him in scemes.

The art work depicted on the book jacket plays an important part in the plot.  

I enjoyed this book a lot, I felt twinges of envy for Weynfeldt’s wealth at times 
It seemed a bit like even the trouble he got into through the woman was just a drama for him.

Martin Suter

in Zurich, Switzerland
February 29, 1948

Martin Suter (b. February 29, 1948, Zürich) is a Swiss author. He became known for his weekly column Business Class in the Weltwoche newspaper (1992–2004), now appearing in the Tages-Anzeiger, and another column appearing in "NZZ Folio". Suter has published seven novels, for which he received various awards. He is married and lives in Spain and Guatemala. ..from Goodreads. 

I hope to read his Deal With the Devil  soon.

For all interested in quality translations of literary fiction and narrative nonfiction, I highly recommend you visit the webpage of the publisher of this book, New Vessel  Press

They have several recent publications that would be perfect for German Literature Month.

Mel ü

1 comment:

Lizzy Siddal said...

I also enjoyed this very much when I read it last year.