Collecting as an obsession: the touching story of a junkaholic defying throwaway society.
Alfred Irgang is a collector. However, he does not collect stamps or antiques, but simply anything that he comes across: old newspapers, false teeth that are as good as new, and other things that naïve members of the throwaway society surrender to the garbage collection. Accordingly, his apartment and various cellar compartments are remarkably filled to the brim, which in turn leads to considerable difficulties with the property managers, which, on the other hand, does not keep him from his hunt for treasures. Does not a lady’s corsage have as much of a story to tell as a Biedermeier davenport?
At the regular’s table, where a group of scientists and art lovers meet, the collector likes to present his treasures but naturally meets little appreciation. When after an “occupational accident” he is confined to a hospital bed, the regulars see their chance to force their blessings on him ….
It is with subtle irony that Evelyn Grill tells of a society that considers itself to be good, while the motto “to live and let live” is buried by the insatiable desire to usurp a maladjusted person.
Eisner is not who he pretends to be. As a high-ranking associate of the SS organisation "Ahnenerbe", his name is Josef Engler. In 1945 he creates a new identity for himself. As Josef Eisner, he commits himself to humanistic principles. He grows to be a renowned literary scholar who is eager to correct the murderous errors of his first life to the exclusion of his personal history. When Engler's cover is blown, his former assistant Roland Klement starts searching for answers.
What does it mean to have to distrust? Where does it lead one who was taught to keep things at a certain distance, when his model and patron lets him down? What remains, when life stories cannot be combined anymore, when the assumptions one has got used to are not valid any longer, and when the flight to hasty judgements becomes as impossible as a clear bottom line? While being distant and, likewise, empathetic, in her astonishingly sovereign debut Gudrun Seidenauer manages to confront herself and her readership with a chapter in the past that has by no means been worked off yet.
The Austro-Hungarian Empire on the eve of World War I: four white men set off for Uganda, each with a different purpose. Stackler, for instance, the physiologist, concerned with charting Africa by the body parts of its native inhabitants, is going in search of monstrosities. He finds one such in his bearer – two metres eight tall – whom he promptly names Kilimanjaro, and takes back to Vienna with him for research in racial studies.
As with Stackler, the research interests of all the others soon evince private madness which shows no respect and is marked by racism, colonialist arrogance and the overweening superiority of civilised people.
In this enterprising novel based on historical material, Max Blaeulich portrays a deeply decadent society which, through the perversion of its values, is itself responsible for the catastrophes which are to be its downfall.
In his novel Blaeulich virtuously combines historical facts and literary invention. (Paul Jandl, Neue Zürcher Zeitung)
A book that pares back our self-importance. Great reading it is in any case. (Anton Thuswaldner, Salzburger Nachrichten)
Max Blaeulich is a secret institution in this country... (Raoul Schrott)
It was not love that drove the ambitious lawyer Alois Hofstätter into marriage with the actress Olga, the much older widow of a deceased client; it was her standing and her fortune, her mature erotic charisma and the not insignificant circumstance that she was expecting his child. Hofstätter's true and eternal love belongs to art, and his passion to gambling. His wife pays his debts, and the child has meanwhile grown into a youth, in whom the practising aesthete finds compensation for the unreasonable physical and intellectual demands of his fading wife. The structure of the illusory upper-middle-class world that satisfies the decadent vanity of both is brittle – in the field of tension between outward prestige and inward discontent. A bitter power struggle which ultimately leads to a catastrophe.
With a ruthless eye for detail, Evelyn Grill draws a portrait of a callous but pitiable dandy for whom the aestheticising of everyday life replaces the education of the feelings.
Grill sketches her characters in a few confident strokes, in a language devoid of flourishes or empty phrases. She avoids sentimentality and false pity. This is way the way stories can still be told, without the all too palatable flavouring of a moral message (Wendelin Schmidt-Dengler).
Josef Urban's one thought is to get away – so a car with the key left in the ignition offers the very chance. It is not his car, but this matters to him just as little as the fact that he has no driver's licence. He soon realises, however, that there is a girl asleep on the back seat. When she wakes up he tells her to get out, but she refuses.
Maria, a schoolgirl, is the lover of the RI teacher to whom the car belongs. She is pregnant, and has little sympathy with the victim of the theft. She can understand Urban's escape attempt, however. The border is closer that they realise, and they suddenly find themselves in Italy. Josef is enjoying the trip and the company; but he cannot avoid feeling responsible for the girl – a thankless role, especially as it is hardly consistent with his love for the absurd.
Nominated for the German Book Prize 2005 (Longlist)
Barbara Frischmuth's stirring début: the narrow world of a Catholic boarding school, the pupils and their aspirations, the teachers and their rules – the expression of a strict upbringing designed to restrict freedom of feeling, thought and action.
The dorm is the place where we spend the night.
Out of the profusion of sayings, maxims and clichés, the true voice of the girls – no less skilfully inserted – occasionally breaks through. Barbara Frischmuth assumes the role of spokeswoman for a collective body, without identifying herself with it. The irony is unmistakable.
Paul Kruntorad, Nürnberger Nachrichten
On the creation of the world and the things in it.
In the beginning was... – Let the account of what it was and how it was be reserved for other books. But how it might have been – who better to tell us this than the author of these fantastic stories. You will be amazed at what Moses and Darwin kept quiet! He shot at a fish and hit a bird, for in the beginning there was only sky and water; and he brought the bird to his wife, who fashioned a cradle from the feathers, and so the first son came to be.
In this book Peter Henisch, taking the example of the special relationship between himself and his father (a well-known press photographer in his days), reflects on the general background to the generation conflict that was aggravated by World War II. Here is a son who asks, and a father who answers. The narration is overshadowed by a terminal illness, but it is a vivid discussion, as well as the record - however conflicting the attitudes of mind - of a mutual Paperbackroach. The result is largely an examination of problematic attitudes towards reality: both the press reporter and the writer take reality as their raw material. First published 1975, this book has lost nothing through the lapse in time, but has rather gained in relevance. Residenz now presents this version, revised and (mostly in the final section) expanded by the author.