born in 1939 in Pichl, lives and works as a freelance writer in Klagenfurt. Numerous awards; f.e. the “Wilhelm-Raabe-Prize” 1984, the “Heinrich-Gleißner-Prize” 1994, the “Adalbert-Stifter-Prize” and the “Cultural Prize of Upper Austria” 2005.
From Austrian writer Adalbert Stifter to Rawlplugs, from Sebastian Brant’s “Ship of Fools” to the alarm system that his wife would like for Christmas, from holy relics to unholy bigots: Alois Brandstetter addresses the minutiae of everyday existence and the big questions of life with equal measures of inquisitiveness, insight and irony. Encounters with curious contemporaries and contemporary concepts give rise to reflections that are full of knowledge and worldly wisdom. The “certification of existence” which Brandstetter has to provide to the German Pension Department every year inspires him to deliver one of the most assertive and meaningful “signs of life” in this wonderfully enjoyable book.
An anonymous narrator makes a complaint to the postmaster of a small Bavarian country post office about the weaknesses of the postmen: one is an alcoholic, the second a womaniser, the third has succumbed to a cultural vice. Of course, the com-plainant’s discontent also applies to the butcher, the vet, the teachers and others – in short: to the inadequacy of the world. The writer, a local resident, keeps complaining about the postal delivery. It is unreliable, he says; the postal delivery is the most unreliable thing. If that’s the way it is, says Blumauer, if that local resident is complaining about the postal delivery, then the following will happen: I shall complain about my moped.
Witty and inquisitive, Alois Brandstetter goes in search of his patron saint and namesake Aloysius. The journey takes him to Mantua in Italy at the turn of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. The thoroughly chaste Aluigi, who died young, has just been beatified, and his mother is looking to have his portrait painted for the new church being built in his name. The job is offered to Rubens of all people, whose work celebrates the pleasures of the flesh, but he turns it down and recommends the boy wonder Van Dyck, nineteen and highly talented. Letters fly between Mantua and Amsterdam. Will Aluigi’s Portrait ever be painted? Perhaps not on canvas but certainly in the form of an enchanting historical fantasy created by Alois Brandstetter.