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“Are you afraid of death?” I ask Janosch.
“No one who’s young is afraid of death,” he says.
“Really?”
“Really. Anyone who’s young only begins to be afraid of death when he’s not young anymore. Until then, all he has to do is live. So he doesn’t think about death.”
“So why am I afraid of death?” I ask.
“It’s something else,” says Janosch.
“So what is it?”
“With you it’s the sea,” says Janosch.
“The sea?”
“The sea of anxiety. You’ve got to get rid of it. You know, your world is full of things that are out to kill you. Your parents’ divorce. School. Other guys. Try to be sure you don’t kill yourself! It would be a pity!”

Janosch pulls on his cigar. I look up at him. I admire him. I’ve never said it to him, but I admire him. Janosch is life. He’s light; he’s the sun. If there is a God, he talks through Janosch. I know it. And he should give him his blessing.

Some of the best bits from the novel. This is a dialogue between Benni and Janosch, discussing the finer points of what it feels like to be a teenager heading straight for nowhere.

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