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Review to the monograph by G. V. Kuchumova “A German-language novel of the turn of the 20th - 21st centuries: the problem of the Other.” - Samara: Samara University, 2019. - 216 p. ISBN 978-5-6043678-0-3

Liberal Arts in Russia. 2020. Vol. 9. No. 2. Pp. 142-146.
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Seibel N. E.
South Ural State Humanitarian Pedagogical University
69 Lenin Avenue, 454080 Chelyabinsk, Russia


The Problem of the Other is one of the most important in the culture of the late 20th - early 21st centuries. The culture of simulacra deforms a person’s self-image and makes the need for the Other important. The book “German-language novel of the turn of the 20th - 21st centuries: the problem of the Other” by G. V. Kuchumova describes the process of self-determination of a modern person through interaction with the elusive, absent, or artificially constructed Other in literature, starting from the 80s of the 20th century. The first chapter of the monograph presents various types of “fleeing” heroes from the realization of their own non-integrity. G. V. Kuchumova shows how the need for self-presentation becomes organic for a person whose tragic attitude towards the world is gradually being replaced by a game. The book identifies four “game strategies” for creating an artificial dialogue “I/Other”: “aesthetic dandy”, a reflective flaneur, collector, and consumer. The second chapter of the book examines the return to the archaic elements of culture in the form of restoring binary oppositions that organize a picture of the world and reconstructing old narratives, verisimilitude, and determinism. The archetypal models with which the latest German-language literature works are examined: home, travel-search, struggle with alienation and violence over the body, a model of return to the spoken word. The attempt to reconstruct the Other in historically oriented models is the material of the last chapter of the book. The military past begins to be perceived through a system of cultural signs, outside the sense of reality of the ultimate experience of war. G. V. Kuchumova shows how the figure of the participant in the events is replaced by the game figures of a reader, a detective historian, a collector, and a quest player. Another direction of the emotional experience of the lost past the author of the book calls post-socialist ostalgia. The book is the result of many years of research on the problem of the Other, which makes its content thorough and expands its boundaries.