Novel by Merle Kroeger
Translated from German to English by Rubaica Jaliwala
Published in India by Katha / New Delhi in January 2007
When the last reel winds down in the projection room of the old cinema house, Madita Junghans, the German with Indian genes, teams up with her boyfriend Nikolaus as detective couple, Nick and Mattie, to set off on a search for Madita's biological father. Their only clue is that he is an Indian. Mattie's mother lives in a psychotic dream world. Her foster father Hinnarck is anything but talkative. Mattie and Nick soon get sucked into a deadly adventure, centred around a dark chapter of Indo-Germanic history. A scintillating fusion of whodunit, post-colonial fable and historical romance, Cut! is a film in novel form. In her refreshingly subjective style, Merle Kroeger portrays the tenuous connections between reel and real life, the past and the present, and with chilling perception, depicts the clash of stark Hamburg reality with the Bollywood dream factory.
"A FRAYED novel splashing about in narrative and imaginative surf can be so preferable to that perfect, chiselled novel set in delectable stone. German filmmaker and artist Merle Kröger’s Cut! unsurprisingly takes the written form and bends it into a shape that resembles the transcript — rather than a script — of a film. But it ends up being a short masterpiece of a rare genre: a book that smells of the noir novel, but tastes like an old-fashioned ‘search’ story. The interspersed cinema-making style (“Cut. The crowd cheers. It rains. Cut. Close up — Ludwig Hauser is in the crowd of people with umbrellas”), the protagonist referring to herself in ‘her’ chapters in the second person singular, the frenetic montage throughout the book, make Cut! an exhilarating novel where even the flaws take on a shimmering, siren-like quality of their own."
Kröger’s storytelling is tight and suspenseful. She creates a wonderful sense of tension as the scattered pieces of the puzzle start coming together. The novel is paced well and the sense of urgency in the last quarter of the book makes it a page turner even though many will have figured out the who in the whodunit way before the end.
The book, translated by Rubaica Jaliwala and published by Katha, is about a German woman who teams up with her boyfriend to set out on a journey to trace her biological father, who happens to be Indian. What ensues is a gripping adventure that takes the couple on a roller coaster ride through Indo-Germanic history, with forays in and out of reel life. They are sucked into a deadly adventure centred in a dark chapter related to the World War II.
A crime novel about a young woman caught in a dark chapter of Indo-German history. A scintillating fusion of whodunnit, postcolonial fable and historical romance, "Cut!" is a film in nocel form.
When Bollywood beckons, the world responds. Among the latest to doff a cap is Merle Kroger, a German author who is on a visit to India. Cut!, a book by the Berlin-based filmmaker-author, has just been released in India by Delhi-based publishers Katha. The book is about a German woman who teams up with her boyfriend to set out on a journey to trace her biological father, who happens to be Indian. What ensues is a gripping adventure that takes the couple on a roll through Indo-Germanic history, with forays in and out of reel life. The book is the author’s tribute to the Indian film industry, with which she admits to having a long connection. In fact, Kroger now happens to be on her way to meet “one young and very talented director” in Mumbai, to discuss possibilities of turning Cut! into a film. Let’s guess — Karan Johar?
The Telegraph Calcutta