by Wolfgang Hermann
translated by Rachel Hildebrandt
Herr Faustini lives alone in a small Austrian village close to the Swiss border. He is content to spend his days as he always has: in the company of his cat, his old armchair and two beloved potted plants in his little garden.
A series of events cause Faustini to question the boundaries of his life. He finds himself trying to tie the little tricks of destiny into tighter knots that would give deeper meaning to his own existence.
When his sister, who long before married and settled in sunnier southern Switzerland, celebrates a milestone birthday and invites him to visit, Herr Faustini initially hesitates. However, once he decides to take the trip, he discovers the thrill of loving and being loved in return.
Herr Faustini feels tempted. But he finds himself unable to cope with the prospect of happiness so late in life. He decides to return to his former, quiet solitude.
While travelling through this delightful book, we may wonder why we feel so strangely drawn toward this incredibly sensitive, unique character. The answer should be obvious: because somewhere, deep in all of us, a Herr Faustini breathes.