March 2, 2024


Inconvenient facts –

From the Rat’s point of view, human history is a series of failuresetc.The General, Rats, on the other hand, are the real hit types. An original and impressive book.

Do you like grudges with sarcastic humor? Here’s a sample: “Humans are a random product of evolution when the rat was created.” It makes you gasp for air. But then, writer Kirsten Decker spoke of human ancestors such as the rat or squirrel, such as Purgatorius, who lived about 60 million years ago as tree dwellers and is considered the oldest ancestor of primates. But wait: in fact, someone else is telling the story – namely, Ratus ratus, a European black rat. Of course, you find it easier to brush off uncomfortable facts about human history than we do.

Christine Decker, author of several biographies, actually used this trick in her book “Richard Wagner. Through His Dogs’ Eyes.” Now she has once again chosen an animal perspective to write an autobiography – that of Homo sapiens. It does not pay off well in its current state: “I was much smarter in the Stone Age than I am today,” asserts the saying mouse. “You can think more clearly, smell better, and listen better. Your mind was bigger. … You turned your intelligence into the tools you made, into society. You would not be able to survive on your own. If you met a man from the Stone Age, you would laughing at you.”

On the other hand, mice turn out to be true success species upon closer examination. For thousands of years they have lived alongside and at the hands of humans and have always been persecuted by them. But they survived all attempts at eradication. And their biological and social stock is impressive. The reader learns many interesting details about rodents, which have a bad reputation – right down to the fact that mice prove their love for Mozart’s music.

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So is this a non-fiction book? only partially. For it is evident that the author boils with anger at the stark imbalance between rich and poor, here and nowhere else. Last but not least, she uses the RT’s narrative perspective to film against social conditions. The tone of the conversation turns into a bitter accusation. Thorwald Iwe

Kristen Decker
The story of a man told by a rat
Berlin Verlag, 431 pages, 24 euros
ISBN 978-3-8270-1414-6