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Photo: Urban Zintel

Das Flimmern der Wahrheit über der Wüste (The flicker of truth over the desert)
Philipp Schwenke
Roter Salon

In German

Book launch

Read by Devid Striesow. Presented by: Matthias Kalle (ZEITmagazin)

For years Karly Mey presented himself to the world as Old Shatterhand - unrivalled adventurer, strong as an ox pathreader and Winnetous’ blood brother. Millions of readers believe the photos of him in hero’s outfit and devour his experiences in America and the Orient. And yet he never left Saxony.

He’s almost 60, when he leaves Europe for the first time.

For one and a half years May - who allegedly speaks 800 languages, has crossed deserts and batted down opponents with one punch - crosses the Orient, travel guide in hand. Yet everything is a disappointment to him. The countries, the sights and especially the man he had also believed to be Old Shatterhand: himself. At home the newspapers smell blood and Karl May suddenly has to be an even bigger hero than the one he played before. Perhaps this way he can save face. Or at least his marriage. ‘The flicker of truth over the desert’ is a novel about letters from the beyond, sex scandals and the ‘propaganda press’, a vein of gold in the jungle, Winnetous hair and a dead leopard. The story of Karl Mays orient trip in 1899 is based on facts. And on alternative facts. And on facts that are certainly a lot more truthful than anything Karl May ever claimed himself.

Philipp Schwenke, born 1978, works as journalist and author in Berlin. He is also chief editor at the financial magazine Capital and writes the column ‘Schwenke tries’ in the monthly magazine Neon.

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