Powerfully eloquent, funny and expressive, the novel tells of Lars, a school drop-out who evades military service in favour of community service in the workshops of a psychiatric hospital. There, Lars finds refuge from his mother, whose abusiveness is worse than that of any raging patient. This is also where Lars meets Hanna, a patient who swiftly gets him tangled up in all manner of delightful scuffles, but whose radical attitude soon takes on a threatening scale. Was it her who torched the workshop leader’s car? How long before the flames of their passion also devour Lars’ fragile attempts to find his place in the world? And can those who’ve gone astray ever find their way back to an orderly life?
Nature and culture cannot be kept separate. They continuously intertwine, visibly and invisibly, but not always harmoniously. From the outset, humankind has tried to tame and subjugate nature. And the more spectacularly successful we are in doing this, the less we think about how dependent on it we still are. This shows most clearly in the language we use to try and label and describe nature – be it in the fictional, poetic, factual or scientific context. In her essay, Barbara Frischmuth seeks to illustrate how nature is discussed in literature, culture, science and in everyday life. To underestimate nature would be perilous. To value and even love it equals human enlightenment.
The essay series UNRUHE BEWAHREN (Keep Uncalm) is a response to an increasingly uncomfortable present tendency. At the heart of modern-day progress lies a wasteful unrest, while the past is progressively devalued and the future is robbed of substance. This is opposed by the principle of anachronism. Engaged contemporaneity should be coupled with the courage for caution and a passion for the outmoded. UNRUHE BEWAHREN is therefore also the theme to which the spring and autumn lecture series at Akademie Graz are dedicated.
Edited by Astrid Kury, Thomas Macho, Peter Strasser
Advice: Harald Klauhs
First published in 1977, “Wer war Edgar Allan?” marked Peter Rosei’s literary breakthrough. An enigmatic game of deception, it is also a rapturous homage to a deeply autumnal Venice and to Poe, the master of cryptic storytelling. Sympathetically adapted into film by Michael Haneke in 1984, the novel combines hallucinatory delirium with precise societal diagnosis. A drug-addicted student roams through Venice, a shady Contessa falls from the roof garden of her palazzo, a drug syndicate quietly rules behind the scenes, and a mysterious gentleman by the name of Edgar Allan seems to be pulling many dark strings. This new edition features Walter Pichler’s cult cover and makes the post-war classic available to a wide readership once more.
Lena from the Styrian village, Andràs from the Hungarian tower block and Eva Bartuska from the Czech town of Brno have all come to Vienna seeking happiness and fulfilment. They drift through the city propelled by the promise of social and economic betterment and the dream of true love. But what is this prized happiness? Sometimes it's a branch manager position, sometimes a wild night out, and often a flimsy illusion that shatters on the rocks of everyday hostility. Yet in this novel on the myth of happiness, Rosei strikes an uncharacteristically conciliatory tone. “And so, those who come eye to eye with the degradations of life and abandon all hope, ultimately still have a right to the happiness they long for.”
It’s April 1938 and student Karl Bleimfeldner returns home to vote against the “annexation” to Nazi Germany – the only dissenting voice in the village. The area is in a state of political frenzy and Karl’s daring action leads to repercussions. Rumours spread. The family falls silent. An overexcited mob sets out to confront the traitor in the woods. In “Voice of Dissent” Thomas Arzt acutely hones in on the 24 hours of April 10, 1938, during which the National Socialists succeeded in seizing power over Austria. Arzt tells the story of his great-uncle – in a feverishly restless tale about conformism, cowardice, hopelessness, fanaticism and resistance.
The doorbell rings at the 4th floor apartment of the Marboe family. “Something’s up with Tobias!” “Yes, he’s in the next room. We’re just getting the guest room ready for him.” “No, something’s up with him down on the street!” Since that afternoon of 26 December 2018, life for the Marboe family has never been the same. What happened to Golli Marboe is the worst that can happen to a father. Your own son or daughter committing suicide is a taboo subject even today. Marboe has written this book to his son Tobias. In it, he looks back on the first year following the tragedy. Were there signs he should have recognised? Was there anything that could have been done to prevent it? “Notes to Tobias” illustrates a father’s struggle to come to terms with what has happened, but it is also full of love and strength and the courage to carry on.
Three lovable outsiders search for their place in the world. Agnesa, an 18-year-old Vienna city girl with migrant background who left school without qualifications, computer nerd Eduard, whose midlife crisis has turned him into a stalker in the wilds of the world wide web, and Felicitas, a feminist who’s still fighting the good fight at 69, even though she has followed her true love into the province. Their paths cross and they soon realise that life is better when shared, even if it means that some dearly held falsities have to fall by the wayside. Writer and performer Mieze Medusa has enjoyed years of success on the poetry slam circuit. Now she’s delivered a novel that combines humour and warmth with its very own language to capture the voices of today.
In his “Life Journey”, Alois Brandstetter recounts the remarkable story of how he made his way from 7th child of a miller and farmer to academic and author. Yet this pilgrimage into the past is delightfully tongue-in-cheek. Scenes and images from Brandstetter’s childhood and youth in rural Upper Austria alternate with humorous observations on modern life, as well as notes on impressions gained and encounters made as an avid reader. His travels on the trail of his namesake Saint Aloysius provide a fitting framework for the intimately and vividly narrated reminiscences.
Roland K., multiple murderer and rapist, is serving his sentence in Berlin’s Moabit prison. His connection to Mania, the prison psychologist, seems deeper than a few therapy sessions might suggest. When Mania’s childhood friend Tomek disappears in Vienna, she embarks on a desperate search for him with the help of Ruth, a hacker. Thus begins a dynamically narrated race against time. Will they find Tomek? Does Tomek even want to be found? And what does any of this have to do with Roland K.? With courage and verve, Kaśka Bryla intertwines the enduring questions of guilt and forgiveness, good and evil, with an unexpected love story to deliver a gripping road novel.
Jay Immer, son of Austrian immigrants, loving husband and a dutiful Chicago policeman, is 55 when the American dream catches up with him. He is elected to be the 40th president of the United States or, more accurately, his double. From that point on, he acts as a substitute for Ronald Reagan wherever Reagan can’t be – at shopping mall inaugurations and burger eating competitions, at parties and photo calls. But when Jay discovers his own voice and becomes involved in the environmental movement, cracks start to form in the idyll. Touching, highly topical and full of tragicomical humour, Clemens Berger’s narrative peers behind the facade of power and tells the unforgettable story of a man who stepped onto the stage of global politics to provide a swimming pool for his wife Lucy.