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Archive for September, 2012

The Art of Walking

‘Zbinden’s Progress’, Christoph Simon’s fourth novel, tells the story of Lukas Zbinden, an 87-year-old former schoolteacher who lives in a nursing home in Switzerland and who, one morning, decides to go for a walk with his carer, Kâzim. As the novel blossoms, Zbinden’s rich life is narrated, through stories that sometimes fall into step, sometimes part ways. Yet throughout, writes reviewer Benjamin Morris, ‘the locus of attention remains the walk: not just the present walk with Kâzim, but all walks, from walks past to walks future to the history and theory of walks’. A few stumbles notwithstanding, the novel — with its simple narratological formula: ‘someone, somewhere, for whatever reason, goes for a walk’ — is a fascinating read, not least due to Donal McLaughlin’s seamless translation from the original German into English.