Gail Hareven - a harrowing, controversial novel about a woman’s revenge, Jewish identity, and how to talk about Adolf Hitler in today’s world

Lies, First Person


Gail Hareven, Lies, First Person. Trans. by Dalya Bilu, Open Let2014.

From the 2010 winner of the Best Translated Book Award comes a harrowing, controversial novel about a woman’s revenge, Jewish identity, and how to talk about Adolf Hitler in today’s world.
Elinor’s comfortable life—popular newspaper column, stable marriage, well-adjusted kids—is totally upended when she finds out that her estranged uncle is coming to Jerusalem to give a speech asking forgiveness for his decades-old book, Hitler, First Person. A shocking novel that galvanized the Jewish diaspora, Hitler, First Person was Aaron Gotthilf’s attempt to understand—and explain—what it would have been like to be Hitler. As if that wasn’t disturbing enough, while writing this controversial novel, Gotthilf stayed in Elinor’s parent’s house and sexually assaulted her “slow” sister.
In the time leading up to Gotthilf’s visit, Elinor will relive the reprehensible events of that time so long ago, over and over, compulsively, while building up the courage—and plan—to avenge her sister in the most conclusive way possible: by murdering Gotthilf, her own personal Hilter. Along the way, Gail Hareven uses an obsessive, circular writing style to raise questions about Elinor’s own mental state. Is it possible that Elinor is following in her uncle’s writerly footpaths, using a first-person narrative to manipulate the reader into forgiving a horrific crime? (Read an Excerpt)


Hareven’s book starts with a disclaimer: “You should never believe writers, even when they pretend to be telling the truth. Everything... here is pure fiction.” Not exactly big news in a novel, but when narrator Elinor says her lawyer husband insisted on this introduction, the reader’s antenna goes up. Could the story be true? This is just one of the tricks Hareven (The Confessions of Noa Weber) gets up to. There’s also the title: does it refer to lies told in the first person—that is, by the narrator—or those told by her father’s cousin, the author of a novel within the novel told in Hitler’s voice, titled, yes, Hitler, First Person. Aaron Gotthilf, Elinor’s Uncle, has been punished for the book (bad reviews, banning, hate mail), but he’s gone unpunished for repeatedly raping Elinor’s older, more timid sister, Elisheva. The rapes more or less destroyed the Jerusalem-based Gotthilf family, precipitating breakdowns, suicide, and abandonment; that Elinor is a happily married columnist and her sister has made a new life in America seems almost miraculous. But Elinor’s Eden is threatened when Aaron comes to Jerusalem to apologize (for the book, not the rape). Well translated, the novel is tart and testy, filled with insight into writers’ ability to lie, omit, and fabricate. - Publishers Weekly


Lies, First Person is narrated in the first person -- and Elinor, who tells the story, has for years been writing a newspaper column chronicling the fictional adventures of 'Alice in the Holy City', her Alice a: "perfect idiot and chronic faker". The unreliable-narrator warnings are practically flashing from every angle in this book. Aside from narrator-Elinor there's another layer too, another 'First Person', who figures prominently in the story -- albeit for much of it entirely out of sight: Elinor's uncle (or, more precisely, her father's cousin), Aaron (formerly Aharon, and Erwin) Gotthilf, who many years earlier had written a notorious and widely condemned book, Hitler, First Person, a fictional autobiography, the author trying to put himself in the place of Hitler in writing from his perspective, a questionable attempt to humanize him, or at least see him as human, in yet another sort of first-person lie.
       Aaron claims now to see the error of his ways, embarking on a quasi-'My Mistake'-tour, apologizing for what he did. He even has plans to come to Jerusalem -- but even if he is contrite, he's pretty much the last person Elinor wants to hear from. Decades earlier, when she was still at school, Aaron had written the book while staying with Elinor's family in the hotel they ran. During his stay he had repeatedly raped Elinor's sister, Elisheva, leading to her mental breakdown and the eventual collapse of the family: their mother essentially committed suicide, their father fled to Italy, and Elisheva moved to the United States, embracing Jesus as her savior.
       Elinor, married to Oded and with two grown children (both also currently in the United States), had a hard time dealing with things when they happened, and despite the long time that has passed, is in an anything but forgiving mood. Aaron announces his intentions -- of coming to Jerusalem -- many months ahead of time, but that just gives Elinor time to stew. She has still not worked her way through those awful events, angry at her dead mother, refusing to have any contact with her father, and barely in touch with her sister. Oded, a lawyer, is at least a supportive, loving partner, but Elinor has to deal with the very lingering memories, and the very deep hatred she still feels for this 'Not-man'. Even in trying to wipe him from her life and mind, his evil, like Hitler's, remains unerasable -- and unforgiveable.
       Elinor has a great deal of time to prepare herself for Aaron's appearance -- though she is sure she'll want nothing to do with him,. She decides to visit her sister, to warn her that Aaron has reappeared at least in this peripheral way, in her life, but the trip to America isn't entirely helpful, as her sister's entirely different approach to the aftermath, and her very different new life don't help Elinor work through her own issues.
       Just how off-balance she's thrown by the countdown to Aaron's arrival is demonstrated by what Elinor does with poor Alice -- who, even as a fictional character, surely deserves a better fate (even though it is a nice example of Hareven's viciously humorous streak). Her marriage suffers some, too, as she becomes obsessed with Aaron: unable to ignore him, she tries to face the problem head-on, obsessing about it. Oded tries his best to be supportive, and he does stand behind her completely -- for better and worse, indeed -- but Elinor struggles in trying to figure out how to right and save herself and for quite a while is left flailing.
       Lies, First Person builds to what one expects will be some sort of confrontation, a countdown to Aaron's arrival in Jerusalem. It makes for some suspense but, given the time-span involved, the suspense is very drawn-out.
       Hareven, through Elinor, keeps readers in some state of uncertainty, as facts are slowly revealed and events slowly unfold. . Throughout, there's always the question of how truthful Elinor is being, and what information she is withholding. By presenting all the evidence and posing all the questions solely through Elinor (who herself admits that she isn't always entirely straightforward and honest, that much of what she writes is, in one way or another, self-serving) the larger moral issues, and the question of possible forgiveness (and the possibly unforgivable) get muddied. That muddiness seems to be Hareven's intent, and in the novel's somewhat surprising resolution it's certainly quite effective, but Lies, First Person never really finds the right pitch or pace. High-strung Elinor -- and the counterweight of Oded (set up nicely for the novel's final turns) -- are vivid characters, but most of the rest of the cast much less so. Resorting to mental unbalance, to varying degrees, also undermines the larger ambitions -- such 'episodes' (and they all feel like episodes: even traumatized Elisheva seems to have just gone through a stage) too convenient in lessening the ugly truths Hareven is dealing with.
       The characters have a lot to confront -- pure evil, whether more abstractly (Hitler, or later Pol Pot) or too-close-to-home (the raping writer Aaron) or even within (Elinor is a very angry woman) -- but the way Hareven toys with the idea of evil falls a bit short: the shifts between more abstract theorizing and the up-close real-life examples don't fully work. Neither Hitler's evil nor Aaron's feel proximate enough, nor do the efforts at forgiveness and absolution; so too the ending doesn't pack as much power as that sort of punch really should.
       Though Elinor's voice is a compelling one, Lies, First Person feels a bit too unfocused, a bit too drawn out, the pay-off not quite there for all this build-up.
      Note: supported and apparently organized by the Institute for the Translation of Hebrew Literature, this translation is also "copyright © 2015 the Institute for the Translation of Hebrew Literature", which is unfortunate (translators should always, always have copyright). And while there are obvious benefits to local authorities taking the lead in translation-projects, offering finished products to foreign publishers, some of the disadvantages show here too, as this translation could have benefitted from American editorial oversight, which surely would have helped avoid slips like referring to the "University of Columbia" (obviously meaning 'Columbia University', or simply 'Columbia') or mention of: "a tour of one of the Bowing plants" (a simple transliteration slip which any American would have caught: it's Seattle, so of course it's a Boeing plant) - M.A.Orthofer

Trying to understand—as well as free herself from—this lifelong obsession, Noa turns her pen on herself, and with relentless honesty dissects her life. Against the evocative setting of turbulent, modernday Israel, this examination becomes a quest to transform irrational desire into a greater, transcendent understanding of love.
The Confessions of Noa Weber introduces a startlingly talented writer in a rich tale that illuminates the desires, yearnings, and complexities of life in Israel.


Everything changed that day in the summer of 1972, when 17-year-old Noa Weber met her true love. From that moment, Noa became physically, emotionally and spiritually addicted to this man. Although she was completely conscious of her addiction, she was unable to conquer it. This novel - a painful, illuminating journey into the depths of love - is Noa`s attempt to understand her mysterious obsession, as well as a sober look at contemporary society, questioning such concepts as identity, independence and self-realization. At seventeen, Noa becomes pregnant by her lover, Alec Ginsburg. But Alec is neither ready nor willing to become a father, although he is ten years her senior. He marries her under the pretext of getting her exempted from military service. Shortly after the birth of their daughter, Hagar, however, he leaves the country. Noa, devastated and completely alone, sinks into a state of semi-consciousness, endangering both herself and her newborn. Only when her family intervenes does she gradually manage to take control of her life. After a brief stint of working as a waitress, Noa decides to enroll in law school. With the help of her devoted mother and caring neighbor, she completes her studies and begins to work for a civil rights foundation. The image of Alec hovers over Noa`s every action, decision and gesture - watching her, judging her. Despite his absence from her life, her only thought is to please him and win his approval. Noa`s absent but ever-present lover occasionally re-enters her life, and she - dependent and bound in ways she cannot understand - submits to his whims, permitting these sporadic interludes and accepting his relationships with other women as well as his three other children. Thirty years later, now the successful writer of a series of feminist thrillers that focus on social-political issues, Noa has become empowered by the heroine of her novels, Nira Wolf - a strong, independent, prominent lawyer. At 47, she is ready to examine her life, her choices and her obsession with Alec. Perhaps this will enable her to let go and stop defining herself in terms of Alec`s presence, worldview, and - especially -absence, but rather in terms of her own empowered self. - www.ithl.org.il/page_14007


"Hareven's characters are multi-dimensional, and that's what makes this bizarre love story at least somewhat believable. And yet, at times I still found myself searching for a more rounded explanation of Noa's love. But she isn't interested in understanding her feelings so much as in expressing them -- she chooses confession over therapy, dismisses psychology, and wants to situate her love outside time and space. It may be that Noa simply isn't capable of understanding herself, or that Hareven is trying to suggest that love, no matter how normal it seems, is ultimately inexplicable" - Michal Lando
"Hareven creates a subtle, engaging narrative from Noa's lengthy self-flagellation. She is at times brutally frank, but her candour is always tempered by humour." - Akin Ajayi

 
“Sometimes one has the experience of reading a book and just falling in love with it—because it is so well written, so moving, it gets into your soul. That was my experience when I read The Confessions of Noa Weber.” —Ha’aretz

“This contemplative inquiry into the nature of love speaks across cultures and introduces a compelling new Israeli voice to English-speaking readers.” —Publishers Weekly

An interview with Gail Hareven: “The Israeli author on Totalitarianism, Feminism and Her New Novel” —Forward
 

“…witty and compelling [it] will leave American readers…pining for more.” —Jessa Crispin, NPR Books We Like

“For me, writing a novel is a kind of journey into the unknown….”—Read a feature on author Gail Hareven, The Jewish Week

For years now, Melville House has been one of the most exciting independent presses out there. The political books they’ve done are fantastic, the Art of the Novella Series is arguably one of the most genius marketing/editorial publishing projects of the past decade, and the return of the Moby Lives blog (I still wear my “The whale is out there, man!” t-shirt every so often) is a brilliant addition to the current litblog scene. And on top of all that there’s the fine list of translations that they’ve been bringing out over the past few years. Alejandro Zambra’s Bonsai. Marcel Proust’s The Lemoine Affair. Miguel de Cervantes’s The Dialogue of the Dogs. More recently, the Hans Fallada rediscovery project, which includes Every Man Dies Alone (a Best Translated Book Award nominee), The Drinker, and Little Man, What Now? And if that wasn’t enough, along comes Gail Hareven’s searing, addictive novel The Confessions of Noa Weber, another nominee for the 2010 Best Translated Book Award.
I know this is going to totally undersell the novel (honestly, I’m not sure my reviewing skills are up to this painfully honest book anyway), but The Confessions of Noa Weber reads like the best possible personal blog ever written. It’s a personal account of mystery writer Noa Weber’s lifelong obsession with Alek, a man she marries out of convenience (to escape her military duty), has a child with, and loves her whole life even though they separate pretty early on, and he moves to Russia, where he eventually finds a more placid existence with another woman.
This is one of those books where the prose far out-strips the plot. Noa’s voice—so direct, so honest, so unabashed and sarcastic and pointed—is mesmerizing, drawing the reader in immediately:
The city of J lies at the top of the hills of J. That’s how I’d like to begin my story; at a calm distance, with a deep breath, in a panoramic shot focusing very slowly on a single street, and very slowly on a single house, “this is the house where I was born.” But you’d be making a fool of yourself if your J were Jerusalem, since every idiot knows about Jerusalem. And altogether it’s impossible to talk about Jerusalem any more. Impossible, that is to say, without “winding alleys” and “stone courtyards,” “caper bushes” and “Arab women in the market place.” And I have nothing to say about caper bushes and stone courtyards, nor do I have the faintest desire to flavor my story with the colorful patois of colorful Jerusalem characters, twirling their mustaches as they spin Oriental tales. [. . .]
It isn’t my personal problem as a writer. It isn’t my personal problem that a person who was born here can’t open with the words “I was born”—because so what? So you were born, good for you, you were born, okay, and then what? Because after “I was born” has to come an adventure story that will take the first person far, far away from his birthplace, and how far can you really get from here? To the Far East on the beaten track of the ex-warriors from the Golani Brigade? To Uman with the nutcases of the Bratslav Hassids to their rabbi’s grave? And however far you went you’d end up meeting someone who knew your cousin’s cousin. Not interesting. Not interesting at all.
As the novel progresses, Noa weaves together events from the past and present, filling out her life, from her time as a young pregnant woman to a very successful writer of feminist mystery novels, to an older woman who has never met any man who can replace her first love. An almost hypocritical situation given her politics, and one that generates self-criticism, but also this gorgeous “confession.”
There are very moving moments in this book, and it can be occasionally uncomfortable in the way that watching someone break down in a public forum (like a blog, like Facebook, like Twitter) can be a bit uncomfortable. But on the whole, this is a remarkable piece of literature. And the way Hareven chisels out the shape of Noa’s self makes me hope that her other works will also eventually make their way into English. Another amazing find by Melville House. - Chad W. Post

In The Confessions of Noa Weber the eponymous narrator, now in her late forties, tells the story of her obsession with the man in her life and the father of her child, Alek. Alek is only peripherally in her life; though they (nominally) were married, he has always treated and regarded her more as a mistress, always making clear that he would not settle down with her.
       Noa's tone is slightly rueful, but she also seems to have come to terms with her situation, even as she recognizes its absurdity. But what can she do ? she loves the guy -- and:
The problem isn't that he's unworthy, but that perhaps it isn't worthy to love anyone the way I love him.
       She knows that she should come to her senses, as it were:
The trouble is that what I need is contempt, not empathy, and certainly not the empathy of blockhead.
       A parody of self-interpretation will not bring me the self-disgust I'm looking for.

       But even as she recognizes all that "romantic bullshit" that people swoon over, she can't escape her own feelings. She's torn by the fact that:
     I say: it's sentimental crap, I think it's crap, it's clear to me that it's crap, and nevertheless, against my better judgement, I still feel it as a miracle, and am still full of the grace of that knowledge. 
       Her account tries for a relatively neutral distance, but love defies that. Trained as a lawyer, and now a successful writer of mysteries (with a heroine considered a strong feminist), she can step back and give account of herself. But Alek brings her to her knees.
       Noa's confessions describe her lifelong obsession, from when she was still in her teens and fell for the older man. He is always kind and supportive, but also makes clear that he will always go his own way -- literally, too, at first, as he has a scholarship to head to Heidelberg, placing a limit on the time they might be together when they first hook up. (Typically, however, while he does move on it turns out he never gets to Heidelberg -- which Noa only learns after the fact.)
       They marry so that she can avoid military service; they even move in together. But Alek always keeps a certain distance. She has their child, a daughter she names Hagar, but while he is again supportive the child is entirely hers. A bond is maintained over the decades, and even as there are other women in Alek's life Noa and he remain lovers. He is happy enough with the arrangement; she can't do otherwise. (She does occasionally sleep with other men, but there's little more to it than that.)
       The now adult Hagar is an interesting and, even to Noa, bemusing contrast. Noa says the girl was: "born with an innate immunity to the germ of romanticism" yet ironically Hagar is the one that always bandies the word 'love' around:
     My Hagar, for example, tends to chew on the word "love" interminably, and in recent years she has also developed the irritating habit of remarking "I love you" at the end of every conversation with me, casting the two of us in some American television drama.
     This is the recurrent pattern: first she provokes some argument with me on e-mail, and then she calls to say, "Mommy, I just want you to know that I love you."
     "Yes .... Same here," I echo in embarrassment. And only once I said: "Look, surely we can have an argument without pinning this tail to it. It wouldn't kill us."

       Noa loves her daughter deeply, of course, but is far more circumspect with the use of such words, their import far too significant for her to fling them about so casually. Love, for her, -- whether the parental devotion to the child, or the passion for the one man in her life -- is so deep-felt that she is very careful in expressing it.
       Interestingly, she observes and wonders:
     If today my daughter sometimes looks to me as if she is made entirely out of ideas and principles, I have only myself to blame.
     If I hadn't met my soul, if not for Alek, perhaps I would have been just like her.

       The Confessions of Noa Weber isn't quite a novel of a mid-life crisis, yet dredging up her entire history with Alek also means reassessing her life. There's been an almost lazy ease with which she has allowed her passionate obsession to determine her life. Even though ostensibly a very successful single mother -- a bestselling author, after a successful career as a human rights activist -- Alek has remained the larger-than-life figure overshadowing all. Noa's literary creation, the feisty Nira Woolf, allowed for some escape (for both Noa and her readers: "why shouldn't women have fairy tales of their own ?" she notes when someone criticizes the character) -- but only some. Confession, perhaps, allows for more.
       Hareven gets the tone down just right here, Noa's matter-of-fact approach the only way to make what is otherwise such an emotion-laden story bearable. These are convincing portraits -- with the Israeli backdrop over the decades used effectively but not too obtrusively -- and Noa's is a compelling voice.
       A different kind of love story, but well worthwhile. - M.A.Orthofer



Gail Hareven wrote one of the more intriguing pieces of short fiction published in The New Yorker last year: “The Slows.”  Despite that, I didn’t rush into reading The Confessions of Noa Weber (She’ahava Nafshi, 2000; tr. from the Hebrew by Dalya Bilu, 2009).  However, when the book won Three Percents Best Translated Fiction Award I knew I’d be missing something if I didn’t read it.  I have faith in the good opinion of that judging panel.
Like her short story, the book started out fresh:
The city of J lies at the top of the hills of J.  That’s how I’d like to begin my story; at a calm distance, with a deep breath, in a panoramic shot focusing very slowly on a single street, and very slowly on a single house, “this is the house where I was born.”  But you’d be making a fool of yourself if your J were Jerusalem, since every idiot knows about Jerusalem.  And altogether it’s impossible to talk about Jerusalem any more.  Impossible, that is to say, without “winding alleys” and “stone courtyards,” “caper bushes” and “Arab women in the market place.”  And I have nothing to say about caper bushes and stone courtyards, nor do I have the faintest desire to flavor my story with the colorful patois of colorful Jerusalem characters, twirling their mustaches as they spin Oriental tales.
Noa Weber is a 47 year-old woman.  She has single-handedly raised a successful daughter, Hagar, who is now 29.  After years of activism, particularly for women, Noa has become a writer of detective fiction.  Her central character is Nira Woolf, a strong female lead who finds no need to attach herself to a man.  Noa might like to think she’s like her protagonist, but for the last thirty years she has been consumed by her love for Alek, the father of her child, her nominal husband.  Perhaps finally feeling empowered by her female protagonist (“Your heart aches because of some man?” she would say.  “Nonsense, darling, just hypochondria, a little twinge you’ve decided to blow up out of all proportion.  But never mind, sweetie, if you want to feel sorry for yourself, you go right ahead.  And I hope you never know what real pain feels like.”), Noa feels it’s time to “confess.”  In the paragraph above, which is the book’s first, Noa gives a bit of context to her confession by taking it out of any preconceived context the reader might have coming in.  There is no easy way to situate this story:
Not that I’m complaining, God forbid.  The facts of my birth and upbringing have nothing to do with what follows here, and even if they did, you need calm and composure to distance the camra like that; calm and composure and a sense of historical perspective, and as far as my situation is concerned, I clearly suffer from a severe lack of both.
To her, her love just is.  People don’t look at the context surrounding Romeo and Juliet — they just fell in love, and their love simply was.  “Me and my love for Alek — which against my better judgment I experience as transcendence.  Me with my dybbuk — which is the only thing that gives me a sense of space.”
The problem is that Alek has no interest in Noa.  He never has.  In the early 1970s they met as part of a group of young thinkers, people against the “traditions” of Israel.  Alek himself isn’t from Israel and finds sees himself as a bit of a saviour.  He roams around Europe looking for causes.  In Noa he finds a woman who will have to serve in the military if she isn’t married.  So, almost on a dare to see if he’s really serious about his beliefs, Alek says he will marry Noa to keep her from having to serve in the military.  Noa knows Alek’s motives, but this is what she wants.  Soon Noa is pregnant.  Alek has no desire to be a father, though he’s not necessarily brutal about the fact.  He says he’ll take her to get an abortion, but when she says no he says that a woman has the right to raise her child.  He soon leaves the country.  Noa realizes all along that one of the reasons she wants to have her baby is because the baby will be partly Alek.  However, this “gasping confession without any perspective” isn’t for her daughter’s benefit.However, this “gasping confession without any perspective” isn’t for her daughter’s benefit.
In the years since Hagar’s birth, Alek turns up now and again, always nice but never allowing anyone to think he feels any differently than before.  Noa also feels no differently.  She continues to life her life as if he’s watching her and judging her every move.
She recognizes that this might not be that healthy.  In the evenings Noa joins the “LAA — Love Addicts Anonymous” forum, though she sits silently as the other women in the world try to conquer their obsessive and hurtful addictions to one man or another.  Noa has attempted to find ways to overcome her own desperate, visceral attachment to Alek:
I could have and could have and could have, but the problem of course is that I couldn’t.  That is to say that from a chemical point of view there was simply no possibility of my detaching myself from him.  Just as there was no possibility for me to change my soul, or to cut myself into pieces.  I loved him.  In other words, he had infiltrated my very depths and then spread through all my cells, and changed my being until I was no longer mistress of my love.  It wasn’t “my” love.  It didn’t belong to me, I belonged to it and was ruled by it.  Or perhaps I belonged to him and was ruled by him.  I don’t know.
It’s that last line that give a glimpse at the novel’s power.  We have no reason to doubt Noa loves Alek.  We also have no real reason to dislike Alek just because he doesn’t return the feelings.  We might want him to accept responsibility and help support the child, but at least he’s been clear from the beginning.  Nevertheless, Noa realizes that she has no idea who is controlling her life.  Both Alek and Nira are absent presences feeding her thoughts.
In the background is Israel through the 70s and 80s.  Sometimes those issues come up in the dialogue, though they are never central to the narrative.  Still, the politics of that time pervade the way Noa sees herself, especially since it’s through Alek that she sees herself.  I found that aspect very interesting.
Sadly, as much as I admired the book, at about the halfway point my interest began to falter.  I started to feel like I was reading the same passages over and over again as Noa attempted to understand her love for Alek and explain the major periods in her life, in whatever order they came up.  Passages like the following started to feel like they were placed all over just to be clever and not because they were particularly necessary to moving the narrative or building Noa’s character:
If there was any logic in the world, the radio would bleep every time the word “love” was mentioned.  The censors would blacken the television screen and warn that the material in question is not suitable for children, that it is subversive, dangerous.  That anyone who seriously succumbs to this madness is definitely not friendly to the environment.  But nobody apart from me seems to see things this way.
We don’t really need that at the point it comes in the novel.  We know how Noa feels.  We’ve experienced her wit and unique perspective.  The cleverness and unique voice, then, in the end became annoying to me and the book started to look flabby.  The book, then, ended rather flat despite the fact that I continued to admire what Hareven was doing with the whole of the novel.  And if we zoom back out to the whole, then, despite some of the flab, it is a magnificent book, a great look at an obsessive love from a political and unique narrator.  I’m glad I read it, and if you find the passages above interesting, I think you’ll like it too.  I can see why it won the Best Translated Book Award.  However, of the four shortlisted titles I’ve now read I would have chosen The Twin, The Walsers, or Ghosts above it. -


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