The title of this book, Timshall; written by the author; Juliette Schlegl, is derived from John Steinbeck’s definition of it “Timshel” in East of Eden. Steinbeck emphasizes this word as imperative, writing that each individual by taking stock of his or her past raises one question; was it good or was it bad? If she had chosen any other path in her pain-filled life, would she have demons running after her in the process of surviving and making a living? What is very plain to see despite the fact of the character’s inherited problems as a Cameroonian and later issues of assimilation in Europe, is that her life has been based upon a moral foundation, a remarkable, even stunningly strong one. Thus, the Steinbeck imperative works as a perfect influence, the philosophical vehicle running throughout this book.
That definition is “thou mayest rule over sin”, and for Schlegl it opens a kind of divine desire in the minds of human beings. This autobiographical novel is about a life full of objections, heartbreak, humiliation, bullying, barriers, and temptations. It traces a path like a river from the author’s native home in Cameroon and by extension Africa, and from there to Ivory Coast, Ghana, France, Germany, Sri Lanka, Ireland, and London.
Schlegl writes with superb descriptive power, especially in the scenes where her character’s solitude and the world’s indifference came together to create the most reflective passages in the book; about her early life, her education, her search for a job, and on to her career, therein runs the psychological scar that seems more like a birthright than an accidental set of circumstances made by the serrations of history and destiny. Thus, her career or path in life is described in the subtitle “A Saw-Toothed Career.
Readers, although, can readily accept what the author says it is truthful, very intelligent, and touching; reading of a problematic world and it is said in the spirit of a life-giver, successfully transmitting the base elements into spiritual fullness.