Hamburg (dpa) – Has Heinz Strunk suddenly switched sides? Away from rather dark descriptions of the mostly bleak realities of life, towards easy and rosy love stories?

While the burger’s new work is a romance novel, fans of his art can rest assured: Heinz Strunk stays true to himself and doesn’t switch to sunny, flowery stories. “I don’t think it would be my specialty,” said the 59-year-old from the German news agency in Hamburg. The book “It’s Always So Kind to You” describes a catastrophic love.

“Meat is my vegetable”

The focus of the novel is a once-budding musician who, however, did not achieve lasting success. Instead, he now stays afloat with his individual recording studio. The novel is therefore a sort of mini-sequel to “Meat is my vegetables,” says Strunk.

But it’s less about the career of a musician, it’s dead too. Instead, relationships with women are now the new challenge, which the 40-something protagonist only moderately masters. His long-standing relationship with Julia bothers him as much as it bores himself.

A new love

And then suddenly, Vanessa appears. Much younger, slimmer and somehow totally different. He is fascinated, overwhelmed and yet unable to let go. So he gets entangled with her in a completely unhealthy relationship full of doubts, power games, submission, longing, disgust, unexpected happiness and utter turmoil between all these sides.

In doing so, Strunk doesn’t skimp on the usual descriptions of people, rooms, feelings, and associated cryptic thoughts. Mostly, they are dark, ugly to ugly, and generally quite oppressive. “In fact, my view of people is not that bad, but realistic,” Strunk said when asked if he wouldn’t really like people. His basic attitude towards life is also not inherently negative. “Although I have a generally melancholy temperament, I am not a pessimist,” the writer said in an interview in his apartment.

Toxic relationship

“It’s always so nice to you” should now show a new side of Heinz Strunk. “I sort of open a new barrel with each book,” the 59-year-old explains. And with the romance novel, he wanted to “somehow add a facet to the endless canon of love stories in the broadest sense that maybe didn’t exist before.” Silence, helplessness, despair and the eternal prolongation of suffering, he wanted to tell the workings of a relationship, which is not so rare.

In part, this book also has biographical features. But not at all. “It’s basically the compressed experience of 40 years of love and relationship.” Until 2012, he had used his biographical fund for his books. “The density of experiences in my life is not particularly high. You have to be able to fictionalize it; think of something. “Therefore, the women in his novel do not have a specific female role model.” They are the sum of many. “

Writing discipline

In 2014, he had already written the first version of the book. Then other projects like Fatih Akin’s film adaptation of his previously published book “The Golden Glove” stopped him. It wasn’t until 2018 that he started working on the raw version – with his usual disciplined approach. “I always set my digital egg alarm clock. It is currently exactly 61 minutes away. And give me exactly four units of work one hour each when I’m in write mode, ”says Strunk. He prefers to write on his laptop in his brown lounge chair in his apartment in Hamburg-Altona.

The result is a different romance novel that goes with Strunk. Reading, as always, hurts emotionally and all the time disaster looms on the following pages. Lots of shoots, some descriptions seem too much in “It’s always so nice to you”. And yet, one feels particularly well the prolonged suffering of the mediocre musician. And when you close the book, you might be happy once again that you have it pretty well.

Hein Strunk: It’s always so nice to you, ISBN 978-3-498-00198-8, Rowohl-Verlag, 288 pages, hardcover edition 22.00 euros