born 1974 in Graz, study of literature in Vienna and Paris, lives in Vienna. Publication of short stories and poems in magazines and anthologies. He was awarded the Siemens-Literaturpreis 2004 and the Theodor-Körner-Förderungspreis 2006.
Every week Hindenburg’s airship and its crew are burnt to crisps in grandmother’s pantry, while a shark fishing boat rolls at sea in the old tool shed and a fire hydrant turns into a red-eared, lovesick alien.
Softly, seriously and without getting stuck in nostalgia, Roman Marchel revives the magic and implacability of life from our childhood and teenage years. His stories are never idyllic: like soap bubbles the children’s worlds are shields against grown-up life. But they are also susceptible to danger, deadly risks and destruction, which can have life-long consequences.
“So, no sex, no god, no dreams” – otherwise Lu will talk about anything. She tells her parents that she’s going to kickboxing camp for two weeks. Actually, she has decided to take some time off and rents a room in a Bed and Breakfast called “Zur schönen Gegenwart” (the beautiful now). Lu is 16 and she doesn’t have a story, not a real one, not yet. But she can talk like others breathe. In the B’n’B she meets Tulpe Valentin, an old author who has written eight novels, but finished the last one years ago. She thinks she has left her life behind along with her writing. The time off that Valentin and her ill B’n’B neighbor are taking is more like waiting for the right moment to give up. “A punch hurts less if you see it coming.”
But then Lu comes along and starts talking and Valentin listens and writes it all down – it’s her last novel, because she sees life right in front of her. It’s not her own, but another life is continuing.