“Zwischen den Spiegeln” by Qamar Mahmood

Actor meets journalist – or how the right questions can lead down a road to healing. Qamar Mahmood’s novella “Zwischen den Spiegeln” will take you into the past of the nameless protagonist. An actor who has played Puck from “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” a hundred times. She, the journalist, wants an interview – he is hesitant and the next morning, it’s too late.

The story of a Transformation

This novella is about the transformation of the main character. If you take a look at the names of the chapters, you will find an outline of the change the protagonist goes through.

Zwischen den Spiegeln
Zwischen den Spiegeln

There are many dialogues in “Zwischen den Spiegeln” which really matches with the fact that the novella is set in the world of theater and acting. It’s a woman who is asking the questions, she’s called the journalist.

She was the last person who talked to the actor before his death. It’s impossible for her to go on with her life without asking: Why did he do this? A question that leads her to a journey through the actor’s life. Her role is to interview family members and friends of the actor. Everyone who can shed light upon the question. Why did he jump from his balcony?

If you are wondering right now, why I don’t write the characters’ names, well, the author doesn’t share them. Interestingly, it’s not an issue because it’s very easy to follow the plot, regardless of the lack of names. Actually, it helps build the mystery that is only unveiled on the last few pages.

My favorite part of the book

I love the image the author conjures in these few lines. It’s about places you know from your childhood – if you see them again, you will find them changed. That means, you can never really go back to the places of your childhood. A theme that recurres in the plot as the journalist discovers some of the places the actor used to love.

Zwischen den Spiegeln
Zwischen den Spiegeln

It’s all about the right questions

“Zwischen den Spiegeln” is one of those stories that will surprise you. Not only is it full of secrets and mystery that is unraveled slowly. Only at the very end, you will fully understand the plot and the relationships between the characters.

It’s the questions that drive the plot in “Zwischen den Spiegeln” and as a reader, you simply need to find out what happened and why. The lack of information at the beginning of the novella creates tension and it’s also what holds it together.

Actually, the text reminded me of a theater piece, consisting mostly of dialogues. The structure matches the story perfectly because it stays in the realm of theater and switches between monologues and dialogues. I can imagine that “Zwischen den Spiegeln” would be great on stage.

Zwischen den Spiegeln
Qamar Mahmood: Zwischen den Spiegeln
2019, BoD
162 pages
price: 14,99 Euro

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