“Ave Caesar, morituri te salutant!” Not only every high school student knows this saying. It is questionable whether the protagonists in Olga Flor’s new novel “Morituri” are really doomed. In the short, rapidly changing sections of the book they are in any case quite lively: the landlady and mayor, the speech writer, the chicken farmer and his daughter, the colored “Moa”, who rhymes so well with moor, and Dr. Mur from the “Good Life Center”.
In the low moor “a rural community that mainly consisted of urban sprawl and that, from this point of view, was incidentally planting its way up to a mountain massif that was not yet recognizable in all glory, meanwhile contented itself with a landscape that had to be described as hilly and generally not very outstanding” Big things are planned: A private clinic project is to be set up here – provided that the environmental impact assessment process, which is admittedly only a matter of form, is positively concluded. There are rumors of money laundering, but superficially it is about blood laundering: Two human blood systems are connected. What this is really supposed to do is unclear. In any case, the pioneers (or guinea pigs) of the new method, called parabiosis, are the architect, dropout and chicken and tomato breeder Maximilian and the colored Maurice. M&M, so to speak.
The inconspicuous 3485-souls community is not an idyll, that quickly becomes clear. What Olga Flor is actually about is less clear. The little lies in life, political and economic tricks with which one is confronted, move within the framework of what can be expected. Many problems of the rural area are gathered, including the consequences of globalization: “global province”. The refugee problem also keeps coming up. Gradually something is brewing. At the opening of the private clinic (“the entrance area was called the immigration center, that sounded so inviting”) the president is expected as a media star, meanwhile an assassin is preparing for his ultimate appearance. All of this culminates in a “showdown”, which is more confusing than clarifying.
In novels such as “The Queen is Dead”, “Me in Yellow” and “Lucid Dream”, the multiple award-winning author has demonstrated a great deal of wit and a pointed, sarcastic approach to the present. With “Morituri” she only succeeds in parts. Much is sketched out, but not pointed, more mixed up than clarified. The indecision that Olga Flor inscribes in her location “in the semi-central mountains” has rubbed off on the Morituri in the moor: Everything is half as wild. But only half as fun. So it’s best to stick to the final sentence: “You could say that nothing happened.”
(SERVICE – Olga Flor: “Morituri”, young and young, 208 pages, 22 euros)