Funny how I always remember where I bought a book that I came to love. That was of course long before I did almost all of my book shopping online. It certainly makes the whole book browsing experience a little less charming, but so much more convenient. Anyway, I recall how I've been doing some book arranging during a down-time at the bookstore I worked at while I was still at Uni. That did not only do my arm-muscles some good, it was also great to find out about new books or authors. One such book was Das Jesus Video by German writer Andreas Eschbach.
Dipping into the genres of science fiction its plot revolves around the search for a hidden video camera that is believed to hold digital footage of Jesus made by a time traveler. One of the core themes in the book is that the picture of Jesus that the modern world as a whole, and the church in particular, have created, may be very different from what the actual man was like. Also, Eschbach points out that in the end, the message is much more important than the man. That's just the (very) short premise of the book.
Sounds intriguing? I thought so. Now, go and learn German. I'm serious. This book is so great that I can recommend learning a different language. If this doesn't tell you something about the quality of the book. Most of all it tells you that I will never understand the publishing world, as the only one of his books that got translated into English is The Carpet Makers, which was his debut novel.
Oh and a word of the wise. Das Jesus Video was adapted for television in 2002. In short – the movie sucks. It's so far off the original concept of the book, changing vital parts, that I really cannot recommend watching it to anyone. English, German or whatever language you happen to speak.
But that's not all there is to Eschbach. After reading this novel, which was, not very surprisingly, also his breakthrough, I quickly got my hands on other books by him. Starting out with fantasy novels he then moved on to write mostly in the science fiction genre, with a touch of the fantastic and a lot of thriller in it. Just the kind of thing I like.
In fact I'm desperately waiting for his latest novel to get out as a paperback edition, while still having two of his books, which happen to be satisfyingly fat tomes, on my TBR stack. And in the meantime I'll keep my fingers crossed that more of his great work will find their way to English readers too.