“Because there was something in the water”: Diary of a Monster

“Because there was something in the water”: Diary of a Monster
Luca Kieser (30) grew up in Tübingen and lives in Vienna.
Image: Nikolaus Stein
Diary of a monster

Everything but ordinary: This is the first novel “Because there was something in the water” by Luca Kieser. What was in the water is a giant squid – and Kieser tells the story of the sea monster (at least partially) from the perspective of its eight arms. Other storylines are reflected in the novel in the form of a diary, a family chronicle or film retellings.

The jury of the German Book Prize, which likes to shine the spotlight on novels outside the mainstream, found the 30-year-old’s debut worthy of a prize and put it on the longlist. Last year, Kim de l’Horizon’s “Blood Book”, an equally unusually told story, won.

Footnotes through the book

In Kieser’s case, it’s the giant octopus that holds the entire story together: “A creature that constantly lives in darkness. That sucks in the blackness with every breath and pushes it out again.” Then there is Sanja. She is doing an internship on a freeze trawler that not only catches krill (small crustaceans) in Antarctica, but also processes and freezes them. When part of the giant octopus instead of krill ends up in the net, Sanja feels a special connection to the animal. Her diary and the detailed family tree provide insight into why. In between, the author intersperses reports about how great sea stories like “Jaws” or “Moby Dick” came about.

Luca Kieser is a great storyteller. He describes things clearly, colorfully, ironically, but at times also instructively. He never loses track of his complex story, which is built up like a mosaic piece by piece in his head and ultimately dissolves wonderfully. Nevertheless, the German, who lives in Vienna and published his first novel with the Vienna-based Picus-Verlag, demands a lot from the reader. He likes to use foreign words that are not immediately obvious and sends the reader all over the book with footnotes, so that the end can be found on page 153 (of 317). The reader needs to take a long breath for many passages, and for some it is unclear what they contribute to the narrative: Why does Kieser suddenly report his penis pain? A novel that wants to tell a different story and pushes this experiment to the limit.

Luca Kieser: “Because there was something in the water”novel, Picus-Verlag, 317 pages, 27 euros

Diary of a monster

OÖN rating:

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