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Rainald Goetz

Rave



I can’t lie, this is one of the worst books I’ve read in recent memory. Rave is a novel about German techno culture in the 90s. It ranges from scenes on the dance floor, after-parties and just the general image associated with that kind of lifestyle. It’s written in a sort of fragmented, scattered sort of way which I think is meant to embody parallels with the culture.

I was quite excited to read this book because I felt like the concept was interesting and had potential to be an enjoyable read. I was also looking into Fitzcarraldo Editions as I’d heard that they had a good catalogue of novels. However, it became a rather painful read as I think I got about 100 pages in and then just sped read the rest because I don’t like leaving books unfinished.

The main reason I disliked Rave is that the fragmented nature of the writing just made it difficult to understand what was going on. It would frequently skip scenes without much context and you’re just left to try and understand what’s going on. This style also made the book lack any real depth or connection with me. The descriptions of the settings were lacklustre which caused it to lack any immersive elements, and because of the scenes switching so much you barely keep track of who the main characters are. It makes it difficult to follow the storyline (if there even is one), which makes you question the purpose of the majority of scenes. Then you end up asking yourself what is the point if you have no care for the setting or characters.

I understand that the style of writing was meant to recreate the intoxicated, whimsical nature of 90s techno culture but it really does a poor job of giving me any connection to that time. It then makes me think that maybe rave culture expressed in the medium of writing is inevitably going to be boring, because words are not something that could ever do it justice, regardless of how well it’s written.

However, I think the book would’ve been a lot more enjoyable if Goetz had developed the characters more and focused on immersing the reader into the scenes rather than just skipping everywhere trying to cover every aspect of what it was supposedly like. The fragmented style was frustrating to read and a lack of storyline just made it boring. So yeah, please don’t waste your time on this book.