ross benjamin

FROM BOOKLIST, DECEMBER 15, 2010

Pletzinger's tale of postmodern suspense delivers anything but the expected. When journalist Daniel Mandelkern is sent by his editor and wife to interview children's book author Dirk Svensson in Italy, he discovers a secret manuscript about Svensson's past life and becomes intrigued by the man's escapades in Brazil and post-9/11 New York City. Meanwhile, he is caught in between Svensson and the writer's friend-lover, Tuuli, and watches as their strange relationship evolves. Like Haruki Murakami, Pletzinger is a technically skilled writer concerned with the form of the novel, as his use of oscillating perspectives and other challenges to linear narrative make clear. He and Murakami also share a fascination with popular culture, specifically, with the mundane made strange, and they use their explorations of form and content to shed light on the extremes of the human condition. Funeral for a Dog is challenging reading, but it is sure to make waves with U.S. audiences, just as it did when originally published in Germany in 2008. --Heather Paulson