Fred Moorman is in his late forties and dreams of a black Jeep Cherokee and a whole new set of friends. His life has come to a standstill and bores him to tears. The days when he used to think about astronomy, about light years and black holes, are absolutely over. All he ever talks about now is endowment mortgages and cruise control. His fourteen-year-old son has long since stopped regarding him as a hero, and his wife thinks out loud about what her life would be like if he fell down dead. At the height of this midlife crisis, Fred happens to run into Max G., an old high-school friend who impresses him with his brutal, aggressive behaviour, his beautiful women, his bodyguard and his cars.
Max G. seems to have everything Fred doesn’t have: guts, assertiveness and a glamorous life. Fred begins spending more and more time with Max, even roping him and his criminal friends in when it comes to getting rid of a troublesome neighbour. But then Max G. is shot dead in a spectacular scene outside a restaurant – and we see the two men’s unequal friendship in a whole new light.
Odessa Star was the first of Herman Koch’s occasional series of novels about slightly psychotic men who breathe fire and brimstone all around them out of deep frustration with their middle-class lives. A suspenseful, witty novel that takes us to Amsterdam’s underworld.