Let’s try to understand the story in the novel “How I Met Myself” which was written by David Hill. David Hill is a teacher trainer and materials writer for English language and literature working out of Budapest, Hungary. This book is rather unique as you will learn a new word –doppelganger. A doppelganger means a ghostly double who comes to give a warning or offer advice. The doppelganger originates from a German myth.
Now, let’s read on to understand the story!
The story is mainly about John Taylor and his doppelganger. He is a British expatriate who is working in Hungary as a computer programmer. Andrea, his wife is a Hungarian language teacher and has a daughter named Kati. He meets his doppelganger on the evening of 18 January – he is knocked down in the street by his double. He apologizes and runs on to Zsolt’s cellar bar. Shockingly, he left no footprints in the snow.
John begins to dream about the meeting and feels scared. After a long time, he finally he confides in Andrea. At the same time, John researches the idea of a doppelganger. Andrea, starts work part-time at Zsolt’s bar. The year passes, baby Kati arrives. Back in Budapest, John becomes more preoccupied as 18 January approaches. The dreams of the meeting return. Surprisingly, the same thing happens; John is knocked down and the man disappears into Zsolt’s bar, which is closed.
John eventually discovered that fighting ended in Pest on 18 January 1945. At that time a mother and child named Szabo were killed by a bomb in Gergely utca. John begins to see the link. He investigates and found out that during the same time Szabo had rushed round the corner to Gergely utca, only to find his wife and child had died in the cellar shop, now Zsolt’s bar. John, tried to talk to Andrea, but she regarded it as an obsession.
As another year passed, John became less preoccupied and things got better with Andrea. However, the dreams return. John felt that the meetings with the doppelganger have a connection with his wife. He investigated and discovered that ‘Janos’ and ‘Szabo’ mean ‘John’ and ‘tailor’, like his name ‘Taylor’. Szabo was also born on 23 October as John, and had a wife called Andrea and a daughter, Kati.
On the next 18 January John finds a note from Andrea when he reached home– she has gone to work in Zsolt’s bar. It is 6.45 pm. He dashes there and he hears a loud noise and runs out, and knocked into somebody. John sees himself on the ground, apologizes, and runs on to Gergely utca. He was terrified when he saw the wine bar destroyed. Frantically he tries to organise a rescue, but was sent home by emergency services. He meets his doppelganger again, who was pointing at Andrea and Kati. John was overjoyed. Incidentally, there was a man at the bar who looked like John. He discouraged Andrea and Kati from entering. Andrea remembered that a doppelganger could be seen by someone close, and so she immediately left with Kati. John was reunited with his family in the end!
This book is interesting in the sense that there is suspense because we wonder who this intriguing man is who knocked down John Taylor and who looks like him. The word doppelganger itself may cause some confusion. Now, let’s find out more about doppelgangers!
A doppelganger, can be the ghost of a living person or any other sort of physical double that look very similar to the ghosts of the deceased. The word doppelganger comes from the German Doppelgaenger, literally meaning “double-goer.”
In some cases a person will come upon his own doppelganger who is typically engaged in some future activity. Scientists at the University Hospital in Geneva, Switzerland discovered that electrical stimulation of the brain, used to treat epilepsy, can produce the sensation of a doppelganger’s presence in the patient.
In folklore, the doppelganger is said to have no shadow or reflection, much like vampires in some traditions. Seeing one’s own doppelganger or the doppelganger of a friend or relative is considered very bad luck, often indicating death or serious illness.
Doppelgangers appear often in various types of fiction. Guy de Maupassant’s short story Lui (Him) tells of the writer’s own experience with a doppelganger. In Edgar Allan Poe’s short story “William Wilson”, the protagonist of questionable morality is dogged by his doppelganger when his morals fail. In Charles Williams’ novel, Descent into Hell, a doppelganger is a significant part of the plot as the heroine’s fear of the doppelganger drives relationships and choices. In Stephen King’s book The Dark Half, the main character, Thad Beaumont, thinks he’s being tormented by a murderous doppelganger. But is revealed later that he’s indeed the ghost of Thad’s twin who had died in his childhood, and acquired an own life when Thad invented a fictional character for the book he was writing.