Literary Saloon
Site of Review.

Trying to meet all your book preview and review needs.

the Best
the Rest
Review Index




to e-mail us:

support the site

buy us books !
Amazon wishlist

In Association with Amazon.com

In association with Amazon.com - UK

In association with Amazon.ca - Canada



the Complete Review
the complete review - fiction


Philipp Blom

general information | our review | links | about the author

To purchase Luxor

Title: Luxor
Author: Philipp Blom
Genre: Novel
Written: 2006
Length: 175 pages
Original in: German
Availability: Luxor - Deutschland
  • Luxor has not yet been translated into English

- Return to top of the page -

Our Assessment:

B : nicely imagined flight of fancy

See our review for fuller assessment.

The complete review's Review:

       The narrator of Luxor is a well-meaning but unremarkable young man. He is a teacher -- a job he chose because, as he admits, he didn't have the guts to do anything else -- and even if his heart isn't completely in it, he's good enough at it for him (and his students) to get by. He was married, but that only lasted for two years. He's a fan of old movies, preferring escape in a little alcohol and a black-and-white classic to facing reality.
       His lack of focus on the here and now is also what leads to the event that changes his life: he gets hit by a car. With a skull fracture, a massive concussion, and assorted other bruises he's laid up in hospital for a while (and then gets additional time off from work to recuperate). But in hospital he makes one friend: Kertesz, an old Hungarian with whom he plays chess.
       They eventually re-connect once they've been released from hospital, since Kertesz is a regular in the park, playing chess against all comers. It is Kertesz then that also introduces him to a fantastic old movie theatre, the aptly titled Luxor (suggesting light, luxury, and exoticism, a proper film-temple). The Luxor isn't your usual cinema: for one, it's not really open to the public. A beggar taking your coins decides on whether you gain entry or not -- and when he's not in the proper company (or frame of mind ...) the narrator finds the doors there chained closed.
       But the secret of the cinema is in the films you see. And it is what you see: almost every viewer, sitting in the same auditorium, sees a different film unfold on the screen, only in the rarest circumstances is there any overlap. Not only that, but you can find yourself in the film .....
       And there's a girl in the mix, too: Eve, a student from his school that he's attracted to -- and that he finds himself sitting next to in the cinema. But she, like so much, also remains slightly ungraspable -- she's there for him, and then lost to him. He goes home with her one day, for example, and on another finds her building long gone.
       The doctors who examine him wonder -- as the reader does, too -- whether that blow to the head didn't cause more damage than initially thought. Clearly, he's living in a half-imagined world; it's something that's hard to pull off well, this mix of reality and almost hallucinatory overlay, but Blom does it well.
       The past also bubbles up, memories of childhood and his youth. Just as he likes his films black and white (he never succumbed to the prostitution, as he calls it, of Technicolor), he seems wary of living in the present day. Indeed, if anything, it seems that he's trying to keep the present entirely at bay. The indications that he hasn't been seeing what's really going on around him -- he's stunned to learn his ex-wife has been a frequent visitor, for example -- suggests there's been much that he's completely blocked (or lost) from his mind, and that much else may have been built up in their solely in his imagination.
       It's a somewhat melancholy, almost Quixotic tale, nicely turned around the love of film, and memory. Blom handles his narrator's perceptions -- some clearly recognisable as misperceptions -- well, and it all adds up to make an appealing small novel.

- Return to top of the page -


Luxor: Other books by Philipp Blom under review: Other books of interest under review:
  • See Index of German literature

- Return to top of the page -

About the Author:

       Philipp Blom was born in Hamburg in 1970. He has lived in Austria and England, and writes for Swiss, English, and German periodicals.

- Return to top of the page -

© 2006-2010 the complete review

Main | the New | the Best | the Rest | Review Index | Links