Read | 20. Apr 2022

A Marriage Story

Since forever all my Munich friends seem to go to Capoliveri on the island of Elba in Italy´s Tuscany. For their late summer holidays - as Bavaria keeps the children out of school until mid September - their parents enjoy exclusive conditions around the Meditereanian as most of the families had to go back home already. From the end of August the island of Elba belongs to Bavarian families. Fair enough - but not really what I am looking for in a holiday destination.

Axel Hacke is no exeption. His wife Ursula had spent her childhood summers there, it was her father who bought the romantic tower in the middle of the old village. So she brought her new boyfriend here some thirty summers ago.

Axel Hacke is one of Germany´s most successful writers - and he loves to write about his wife and his famliy. When I first met him he was still a well known serious journalist at "Süddeutsche Zeitung". While talking to an editor friend about those everyday tasks of being a modern father that friend talked him into writing about just that, a weekly column called "Der kleine Erziehungsberater" ("Your Little Education Tutor").

The columns became a book, the book became his first bestseller, the rest is history.

And, on the way, we became friends.

Even though his readers might have the feeling to know their favorite writer perfectly well (Hacke´s regular book tours mostly sell out in advance because he is on top a brilliant performer of hist stories) - here comes a book that is different from every other book before: I think it is his most personal - even though the author underlines the fictional quality of his story telling.

It is literature in its finest form, talking about your innermost while telling a simple story, quite funny on the surface.

Some characters in the book are actually real - like the painter Thomas Weczerek who designed the book cover as well as the label of his olive oil; they became friends over the years on that island, and Hacke takes some pages to describe his technique and his personality.

But I do not care for realitiy: my favorite chapter is about the first harvest of the olive trees at the very end of the book.

The thing is: Axel Hacke´s relationship with Capoliveri is NOT a love-at-first-sight lovestory. It is not even the story of love-that-grows-over-the years.

"Ein Haus für viel Sommer" roughly translates into "A House of Many Summers" and it is actually the story of a marriage. The kind of happily-ever-after-until-death-does-us-part.

As Axel Hacke decided NOT to travel around the world (and maybe miss A LOT) but go to that island every summer instead, he did what a happily married man would do. Asking: "Would I really have seen the whole world if I had NOT seen this little village?"

Now I have to see that very village. Maybe in early summer when those Munich families cannot come.

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