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160 Pages

Rayk Wieland

No Fire that does not burn

Freedom to travel is always the freedom of the others!

W, the hero of Rayk Wieland’s acclaimed debut "Ich schlage vor, das wir uns küssen" (I suggest we kiss), is now a middle-aged travel writer. He gets by. He’s in demand. The odd thing is, though, that he doesn’t actually travel anywhere. He lives in East Berlin and since 1989 hasn’t once left the territory of the former GDR – for reasons of exclusivity, as he insists. Freedom to travel – according to W’s creed – is always the freedom of the others. His features for the renowned International Geographic Review are all entirely made up but unfailingly popular with readers. But when he ventures into North Korea and diplomats take issue with his article, his secret is out ... and he’s out of a job. The minor scandal throws his life into disarray, he goes grey overnight and seeks asylum in the North Korean embassy. He meets a young woman with an insatiable desire to travel, and men in dark suits keep crossing his path. W hasn’t the faintest idea what to do next: his well-ordered life is finished and he doesn’t appear to have an alternative. Reluctantly he embarks upon the first real journey of his life. It takes him to the Great Wall of China and to fires that do not burn. Rayk Wieland’s second novel is once again very funny but not unserious. With a deft touch, he exposes two of those intriguing, unsolved conundrums at the very heart of modern life: what exactly are we looking for when we travel to foreign climes and what on earth do we think we’re doing there in the first place?

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