Audiobook “The Forest Calls” – Adventurous Meerkats and Smiling Wild Boars

By Elmar Krämer

A group of meerkats squats close together in the zoo enclosure. (picture alliance / IPA / Fotografo01)
Clever heroes: Meerkats pass the wildest adventures in the audio book series by Moritz Matthies (picture alliance / IPA / Fotografo01)

Moritz Matthies’ sixth prank of the meerkat crime series has been published as an audio book. The meerkats Ray and Rufus end up in the forest to reactionary wild boars. Christoph Maria Herbst once again gives it his all as a speaker.

“I keep my delicate nose in the Berlin morning air and know it’s going to be a good day, a day like any other.”

Of course, this is not the case. A short time later, the cool meerkat Ray meets the mountain gorilla Kong, who in the previous five stories of the meerkat crime series by Moritz Matthies repeatedly attracted attention with short interjections. Behind the pseudonym hides the author duo Hans Rath and Edgar Rai.

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This time, Kong is philosophically oracled: “Basically, we are all just tourist attractions with a built-in expiration date.”

A real joy: Christoph Maria Herbst

Christoph-Maria Herbst, who throws himself into the different roles with full vocal cord use, is a real joy for the listeners. Gorilla Kong was a special challenge, says the actor: “Well, I laid the egg for myself. I gave it a very snarling voice that doesn’t really deserve the word ‘voice’ anymore. And he now speaks quite a lot for his circumstances in the latest novel – that was not entirely unsnuous.”

The actor and audio book speaker Christoph Maria Herbst. (picture alliance / AAPimages / Lueders)Breathes life into the meerkats and their friends: Christoph Maria Herbst speaks all the characters in the audio book “Der Wald ruft”. (picture alliance / AAPimages / Lueders)

In “The Forest Calls” the entire clan – the nymphomaniac Nathalie, the Proll Rocky, the clever Rufus, main character Ray and all the others – are to be sold. The zoo needs to save.

“In every tragic event, no matter how tragic, there is a seed of hope for life, for the beauty of the moment,” is the philosophical insight. And so the meerkats decide to flee: in a rubber dinghy through the sewers. In the end, the clan ends up in the German forest, a very foreign environment for them.

Current political references

What is now unfolding is not a typical meerkat thriller, author Edgar Rai reveals: “In fact, we have been thinking for a long time – we also do other things together besides the meerkats – about whether there is a way to tell this migration, refugee and social topic in a comedic way.”

The meerkats stand out naturally. The raccoons happily welcome them as the party makers from the big city; Ray and Rufus fall in love with an attractive bunny. It could be so beautiful.

But the wild boars, especially Keiler Hermann, disagree. They do not want the new forest inhabitants, feel threatened and make a mood against the rodents at a meeting of the animals:

“Meerkats are, to put it bluntly, foreigners,” Hermann smiles. “If you first open the door to them, they run into your booth and take over the entire shop within a very short time.”

Reactionary wild boars

Initially, the meerkats don’t really take the reactionary, right-wing bluster seriously. But when the wild boars overthrow the king of the forest, the deer Karl, and take power, things look different. “Apparently, the haunting is just beginning. Escape is useless anyway, my keilers have surrounded the building. That’s when you hear it,” Hermann threatens.

Persecution, spying, fear and terror – soon there will be nothing left of the natural idyll in the open air, and the meerkats want their old zoo life back: hinter bars and with full board.

The authors virtuosically walk between wit and reality, projecting conflicts of current political events and German history into the world of animals. For one or the other, this may sound too much like Klamauk in places – but the result is exciting and funny audiobook entertainment in the best “meerkat” tradition.

Desire for more

Or as Christoph-Maria Herbst says: “For me, as an audio book speaker, I can only say so much. You can’t turn a bad book into a good audiobook.”

Agrees. Especially since what the actor delivers already has a top radio play character even without atmosphere and music. The fun lasts about eight hours, which makes you want more. And there will be more – with the meerkats it will continue, as the authors have already made clear.

Moritz Matthies: “The forest is calling”
A meerkat thriller
read by Christoph Maria Herbst
1 MP3 CD, 7 hours 23 minutes
Argon Verlag, 2021

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