Berlin before the fall of the wall, China before the massacre on Tiananmen Square – in a world full of irredeemable promises, a generation drifts along as it searches for a different life. Set in a wintry Berlin rich with dark taverns and opulent cafés, the narrator and his rag-tag circle of friends try to invent a new kind of freedom. At the heart of the clique is the dazzling Nina. She holds everyone in her spell, but is herself at the mercy of her inner voices and their dangerous insinuations. A one-way ticket to Beijing offers a way out. The narrator leaves everything behind and sets off to travel through a China in turmoil, but in this vast blue empire his attempt to forget remains futile.
Clara has always been fascinated by flying. Or is it just the ability to flee that attracts her? Now, it seems she has achieved her aim. As a pilot working for a budget airline she asserts herself in a ruthless male world, conquering the skies from Bangkok to Berlin, Colombo to Cancun and Mombasa to Madrid. She can deftly steer a Boeing 777 through violent turbulences, but her own life is rapidly sliding out of control. Torn between two men and haunted by memories of early abuse, she restlessly roams through the faceless airports and foreign cities of her itinerary. It's only when she retreats to the tropical island of Sri Lanka, an island ravaged by civil war, that Clara manages to confront the ghosts of her past.
Everyone senses it – the space for those who think differently, act differently and love differently is shrinking once more, the threat is increasing. But for now the 'Heaven Bound' still exists. Its glitzy stage is the home of the drag queens and a refuge for outsiders and night birds. Tucked out of sight, the bar is the only place where even Sylvia feels safe. As a young vixen on the run, Sylvia plucked a human skin from a clothes line and has lived as a woman among people ever since. She shares her live with Jonathan, a dreamer and self-professed world saviour. When a feathered tumour grows on Jonathan's back and his transformation begins, it becomes clear that not everything with wings can fly. But the utopia of the 'Heaven Bound' will always be worth fighting for.
The twelve nights between Christmas and Epiphany are a mystical time – a time in which nature stands still and the boundaries between our world and the supernatural realm appear suspended. In Alpine regions and Nordic countries, the Twelve Nights are the source of numerous fables. People talk to animals, goblins populate human dwellings, wishes come true and the Wild Hunt rides across the land. This openness to magic and folklore, this moment of pausing and taking stock, have long been a source of fascination to Harald Krassnitzer – and hold a special significance in our hectic times. In this book, Krassnitzer brings together his favourite legends and tales relating to the Twelve Nights, accompanied by personal reflections
Peter Rosei has always been on the move, led by an unfailing curiosity for landscapes and cities, people and their stories. 'The Great Road' for the first time brings together the chronicles of his travels across five decades and three continents. We get to know Peter Rosei as an acutely observant and knowledgeable traveller, who is open to impressions and images, scents and sounds. He steadily approaches the unknown and brings it close, without diminishing its fascination. This wonderfully labyrinthine book takes us from Peking to Los Alamos, from Seoul to Moscow, from Paris to Texas via Bratislava and Istanbul, brimming with the author's appreciation for the vibrancy of the world and the diversity of human life and survival.
Michael Köhlmeier's contemplations on We are a plea for an inclusive community. The We can soothe, because it offers the lonely I a home and a notion of where it comes from. This We can provide integration. It is close to the I, it tells stories. But We is also a uniform that can be worn. Anyone can become the enemy of this We, it turns us into opportunists and dogmatists. This military We generates myths to sanction ideologies. But how does one We turn into the other? How does intimate family history turn into an ardent desire to kill and die for something that nobody has ever seen? And what can be done to prevent this transformation? The great raconteur Michael Köhlmeier delves deeply into the two-faced nature of We.
Her voice often attracts attention for its distinctiveness, so she might as well be heard in another sense – as the voice of an author and the 'person of public interest' that Erika Pluhar has become in the course of her life. Pluhar is a prolific writer of speeches, essays and articles, declaring her personal stance on political and socio-political issues, paying tribute to contemporaries or saying farewell to people she cherished. Her opinion is both sought and provided, and she speaks out when she feels it is necessary.
Hidden away at Settecento, the shady 'Tsar' runs a modern-day boarding school modelled on Baroque-era music academies. Here, highly gifted boys are trained – and castrated – to enable them to sing the most spectacular roles, like the castrati of Baroque music. When Timo, a young boy with a magical voice, flees to Vienna and his mentor Matteo sets off in search of him, the music world is forced to confront reality. Matteo becomes a street singer and is both the hunter and the hunted. The Tsar is on his tracks and, in order to find Timo, he has to hold his own in the tough world of the homeless. Imbued with the sounds of Baroque opera, Daria Wilke's breathtaking story tells of a secret society that is prepared to pay any price for beauty.
In the second of his autobiographical works, Thomas Bernhard tells of the decision to remove himself from his life. Rather than continue attending school, he starts an apprenticeship in the cellar of a grocery store, on the outskirts of the detested town, in the ghetto of the have-nots and criminals. There he becomes acquainted with society's outcasts. He feels drawn to them and learns for the first time what it means to be accepted and to be 'useful'. Day-to-day life in the cellar turns out to be therapeutic. This place of limbo becomes a refuge, until a severe illness puts a sudden end to Bernhard's apprenticeship. In 'The Cellar', Lukas Kummer finds a relaxed pictorial language for the author's narrative tone. With precise strokes, Kummer accompanies Thomas Bernhard through what was probably the brightest period of his youth and throws a congenial light on the 'cellar'.
Four women at the end of a life stage – and at the beginning of a new one, in which they strike out on an unconventional path with humour and solidarity. Ella finds herself alone in her large period apartment. Finally alone? Or lonely after all? There's Rada, the Rumanian carer of her deceased husband, and Ella's sister, the colourful Maggie, who has returned after her international career. And there’s her neighbour Luise, who's been left for a younger woman. What kind of life do they want to have in their old age? What's possible? What's permitted? Will they be invisible or invincible? Fulfilled or frustrated? And most importantly – will they each live alone or all together? Their answer is brave and unconventional – and soon Ella's large apartment is full of life and heated discussions about politics, family ... and sex.