Leseprobe: The Hour Between Dog and Wolf

Am Freitag stellt Lucy Jones die englische Übersetzung von Silke Scheuermanns Roman bei uns vor: The Hour between Dog and Wolf. Zur Einstimmung ist hier schon einmal eine Leseprobe.

I’d set down two large cups with biscuits and turned on the radio. They were already playing spring waltzes—now, in the middle of January. Even as I’d been putting out the cups, Ines had fallen silent and begun staring at the kitchen table. We went very quiet again. It was like flirting, each waiting for the other to make the first move and every little hesitation taken as a refusal to dance.

I felt she could have made more effort, having forced herself on me this way, and I started to enthuse about Rome again, this time with suppressed anger in my voice. Ines stayed for about another twenty minutes and went to the toilet twice in that time. The last time, she came out carrying her still-wet swimsuit and speaking softly into her mobile; I heard her fluently reciting my address. While she was on the phone, I already fetched her parka, and, as I could tell from her aggrieved expression, she obviously didn’t see my gesture as merely practical. I wanted to make it up to her straight away: I did so by saying how nice her parka was. I hadn’t expected her to give it to me on the spot. Come on, she said. No way, I said, and while we were still arguing, the doorbell rang. A man introduced himself as Kai and held out his hand which was almost as brown as mine; perhaps he too had been to the south recently. He was so tall that I had to look up at him; the frames of his glasses were almost transparent, and his eyes shone, greenish blue. I found him attractive even though he was Ines’ boyfriend. I thought about what would happen if I said to Ines, He’s good-looking. When Ines didn’t come, I explained to Kai that she was sitting in the kitchen, and he briskly walked past me in the right direction. I followed him. How do you know which way to go? I asked. The old flats in this street all have the same layout, he replied. A friend of mine used to live in one. His tone was slightly disparaging, as if his friend and I, each in our own flats, were sad freaks in an identically laid-out world which we were not aware of. In the kitchen, Ines was slumped down. She greeted her boyfriend with lukewarm enthusiasm, a mumbled, monosyllabic sothereyouare, followed by Kai wanting to know straight away if we’d talked. Talked? About what? I asked and finally turned off the damned radio. No answer. Kai looked at Ines who was staring listlessly into her coffee cup. His gaze pierced the wet patch on the back of her hoodie made by the damp tips of her ponytail. My sister was hanging more than sitting in her chair. I’d never noticed before how passive sitting could be. Please, let’s go, she said suddenly, taking her parka and leaving Kai to carry her sports bag. Feeling dull, my eyelids half-closed, I watched from the window as they walked over to a very old, dark-blue Mercedes that was parked across the street, the kind of car that advertising types and artists like to drive; it was quite possible that this Kai was a painter too. He didn’t have his arm around her shoulders and they weren’t holding hands either. And then it struck me that Ines was only wearing her pullover. Hesitantly, I went to the front door and opened it. Sure enough, lying on the mat was her carefully folded, olive-green parka. I picked it up and tried it on. It fitted perfectly.

© Seagull Books