Jurij Brezan: Krabat oder Die Verwandlung der Welt [Krabat or the Transformation of the World]
A wonderful mixture of legend, history and contemporary politics which, had it been written by a Latin American or an Indian, may well have been much better known. Brezan takes the Sorbian legend of Krabat, the story of a young miller’s apprentice. The miller, however, is no ordinary miller but a master of black magic. Krabat learns these arts but puts them to good use and the Krabat stories are about how he helps the poor Sorbians with his magic. Brezan goes one step further and shows Krabat both as a man and as a magician. As a magician, he has no regard for time or place, jumping from the North Pole to the South Pole or from the present to the Thirty Years War at will. There is no way to describe the plot, except to say we follow Krabat as he sets out to find the Land of Happiness, the land where the Sorbians can live in peace, safe from the lords and from outsiders. We meet his lady friend, Smjala, the miller, Kuschk, with his magic trumpet, the bio-engineer, Jan Serbin, who seeks to transform the world by changing himself into Krabat and other Sorbians. And, of course, there is a bad guy – the Count Reissenberg. It’s all great fun and pretty anarchic – how did he get it past the East German censors? Pity that it’s not available in English.
First published 1976 by Neues Leben
No English translation