The Aardvark Speaks : essence, effervescence, obscurity. Established 2002. A weblog by Horst Prillinger. ISSN 1726-5320

December 21, 2006


In my letterbox I found, right on top of the stack of invoices that I usually get at this time of the year, a book entitled Jesus und der Fall Natascha ("Jesus and the Natascha Kampusch case").

Natascha Kampusch is, as I only need to mention for readers outside Austria, the girl who was abducted eight years ago when she was ten years old and who managed to escape from her kidnapper earlier this year.

There was no address on the book cover and also no other sign that it had been sent by mail, so somebody other than the postman must have put it there. I have no idea if everybody in the house got a copy, but there weren't any in the wastepaper recycle bin, so there is the weird possibility that somebody wanted me to have it. Why they would do that is beyond me.

Basically, the book consists of three chapters: what Jesus would say to Natascha Kampusch, what Jesus would say to Natascha's parents, and what Jesus would say to Natascha's kidnapper. Most of these are adventurous interpretations of disconnected chapters of the bible, interspersed with prayers, some of which seem to be of very limited use unless you are a kidnapping victim, a parent of a kidnapped child, or a kidnapper.

What I found particularly ironic is how the author repeatedly stresses the importance of unconditional love and strong family ties. I, on the other hand, agree almost completely with Rainer Just's recent essay in Wespennest (partially reprinted here) that the kidnapper's main incentive was most likely a combination of loneliness and a pathological, misguided sense of romanticism, a yearning for the kind of family and togetherness very similar to the one that permeates our society and that is also propagated in this very book. What the kidnapper did then was a twisted variation on the male fantasy that Pedro Almodovar made fun of in Atame, namely that a woman that you capture will eventually grow to love you. However, it doesn't work like that; the most you'll get in real life is a case of Stockholm syndrome.

Finally, while the author of the Jesus/Natascha book seems to be very convinced of "what Jesus would say", I rather doubt his ability to communicate with Jesus and channel his thoughts. I just don't believe that Jesus would tell the kidnapper twenty pages of religious gook, including how committing suicide would not get him to hell, but adbucting Natascha does. Or at least I hope he wouldn't.

I mean, the only thing anybody should say to the kidnapper in that situation is something like "you stupid idiot, let her go at once".

Posted by Horst on December 21, 2006 11:08 PM to books & bookkeeping | Tell-a-friend
Natalie said on December 23, 2006 06:46 PM:

I did send you a book recently (which I hope has arrived?) but this weird thing in your mailbox is definitely not from me, I swear!
The kidnapper-kidnapee syndrome was well handled by John Fowles in his book "The Collector" (later made into a soppy film). I wonder if the guy who kidnapped Natascha had read it?
Have a happy Christmas and excellent 2007, Horst.

Jann said on December 23, 2006 09:12 PM:

I also sent you a book recently (which I hope has arrived?) but certainly not this very odd thing.

Horst said on December 24, 2006 08:40 PM:

The books have arrived, thank you very much!!

One of the stories in The Happiest Guy in the World also deals with this kind of dynamic, although against a different background and with a few added dimensions; still the basic story is similar. Some people found the ending a bit problematic, but I felt that any happiness that could come out of this would have to be a twisted kind of happiness.

Jann said on January 3, 2007 07:10 PM:

With regard to the story to which you are referring, your ending made good sense to me. Considering the background and variables peculiar to this story, it's hard to imagine a different ending that would work as well. It would be interesting to know what other people think.

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