It came as quite a surprise when we found out that our ficticious little town in Odenwald, Loch (from "A Small Town Called Hole") is featured in a very real travel guide to the beautiful, hilly, heavily forested region. This is what "111 Orte im Odenwald" has to say about our book:
|By Getrud und Joachim Steiger|
111 Orte im Odenwald, Spessart und an der Bergstrasse, die man gesehen haben muss:
The Nibelung Festival
It's not real, but it exists
Astrid Ule and Eric T. Hansen have done something extraordinary. They have turned the eyes of the world and of history to a small town in the Oden Forest, even though the place doesn't exist.
The town of Loch is fictional; it arose from the overflowing imagination of the Frankfurt-born writer Astrid Ule and the Hawaiian-American (or American-Hawaiian?) Eric T. Hansen. Maybe this is the kind of thing one might expect from a Hawaiian-American, but from a German? Not to mention one born in the diaspora of the Oden Forest?
As to the story of "Nibelung Fever:" Loch is, as mentioned, a very, very small-town deep in the Oden Forest, where, following a flood, a few artifacts are discovered and the town falls victim to the idea that the legendary Hoard of the Nibelungs might be buried somewhere nearby.
Hurray and Eureka!
Finally, something is happening in this sleepy nest on the far side of the moon, finally Loch will get a chance to play in the big leagues.
Outdoor spectacles are planned, a highway will have to be rerouted: Loch is going to get a whole new face. An American journalist shows up to tell the story to the rest of the world, and the chaos begins.
It should be mentioned once more: Don't go looking for Loch; and you won't find it in any atlas. But you will find Loch everywhere. In the Oden Forest, in Spessart and on the Bergstrasse. Loch is the spitting image of all the towns and counties in Germany, in Europe, in the world. These people trying so hard to be the next big thing, these phonies and punters, you can find them on any street corner. Remember the words of Karl Marx, who said the events and players of history always occur twice - once as tragedy and once as farce -, as you read this novel by Astrid Ule and Eric T. Hansen.
|Some notes on "A Town Called Loch" and the travel guide "111 Orte im Odenwald"|
The idea for our little novel was inspired by the mockumentaries of Christopher Guest, and we tried to make it as real as possible, especially the town, the location of which you can find (though the town itself is not there). Apparently, we did a pretty good job, because when we gave a reading at an Odenwald bookstore owned by Gertrud and Joachim Steiger, they told us that readers there wondered if our characters were based on real people. A few years later, the Steigers wrote a travel guide to the region and included our fake town of Loch in it.
For us as writers, there is no greater honor than for our fiction to be honored with a place in the real world.
You can visit the Steigers' bookstore - the Literaturhandlung Paperback in Bad König. You can buy their book here.
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