A sparkling, modern novel full of pace and twists
After being nominated for the Libris Prize for his first novel, Nachtkwartier (Night Quarter, 1995), Lieske carried off the prize in 2001 with Franklin. The jury commended, amongst other things, his enormously vivid style. And not without cause; Franklin is a sparkling, modern picaresque novel, full of pace and surprising twists.
The title refers to the hero of the story, Franklin Lowendaal – an outcast who is rejected by his mother and virtually ignored by his father.
As the genre demands, Franklin has to find his own way in life from childhood. Boarding schools, children’s homes and later dreary rented rooms form the backdrop of his world. Reality pleases him least of all. What actually keeps him going is his fantastic imagination and irrepressible optimism, although his aversion to reality also makes Franklin rude and aggressive. He is, nevertheless, above all a sensitive charmer, who buys a rabbit for his childhood sweetheart, Michelle. Later, she falls for him, although she has a lot on her plate with her eccentric boyfriend: ‘Michelle was feeling desperate. She had put all she had into the fight. The fight, first of all, to retain her own identity in the presence of that overwhelming character. That, she considered normal. Recently, however, she had been fighting to keep Franklin, too. On the surface, everything appeared to be going well. The solitary individual had got himself a job, he’d cleaned up his room, hardly drank and was paying off his debts.’ But just as things seem to be going his way, he manoeuvres himself once again into an impossible position. When Franklin sets fire to the restaurant run by his Uncle Charles and his companion Niel, even the most fantastic excuses can no longer help him.