Wasserzeichen (Watermark)

Cover: “Bottle” by Geert Goiris, 2014

Rotterdam, 2016: A large-scale research project on the growing up of an entire generation is underway in the city. What stabilises a family? Jan loses his own family, his life as a long-time employee of the project. He breaks away, and a weekend in Hamburg becomes a turning point for him, his wife, his daughter – and his friend there, against the backdrop of his own search for cohesion, his father’s illness. The story unfolds before his eyes, in superimpositions of their shared past since university, the view into a future that has long caught up with and alienated them both. Does looking at each other open them up anew?

“In a subtle way, Mühleis succeeds in exposing the fragility of life plans, but also of being trapped in them. The money bomb that Jan always has to take to the bank as a child becomes a symbol of how easily everything familiar, secure can be destroyed by a different decision, or also experienced as a liberation – if he would just throw it into the river on the way to the bank, wouldn’t he?”

Wasserzeichen – Novella

Athena-Verlag, Oberhausen, 2022

108 p., 16,90 EUR

Presentation of “Wasserzeichen” at the Insel der Bücher, Essen, with Sören Marquard on bass (photo: Katrin Janßen)