Bulgaria? Backward, corrupt and lazy?
As the new ambassador in London, Varadin Dimitrov, is designated to enhance the image of Bulgaria in the West. When he rings the bell at the respectable address of the embassy in Kensington one morning, he finds that there is indeed a lot of work ahead of him: a provincial mayor at hangover breakfast, the cook at loggerheads with his wife, the vacuum cleaner – broken.
Indeed, the civilized world owes thanks to Bulgaria for the invention of the water closet, but that does not help the new ambassador on his mission, nor does the fact that his predecessor refuses to clear the house as he is desperately fighting his return home. And above all: the freezer in the cellar houses ducks kidnapped by the Russian Mafia.
Mission impossible? Varadin Dimitrov seeks assistance with a PR-Agency that promises him access to London's high society – glitter, glamour and dozens of celebrities. One of them is his cleaning lady; she leads a double life and moreover she's been dead for the longest time. There's something terribly wrong here, isn't it ….
Alek Popov tells of the East in the West and the West in the East. In this novel full of wonderful characters he tells a story of pure folly, sounding as if all of this were not in the least bit funny.
English translation available
At seventeen, daughters never have an easy time with their mothers: The leech is always too short and in Czechoslovakia it must be still a bit shorter. When people say "a chip off the old block" mothers are usually more pleased than daughters. Jasmine Bukovská does not give her mom any reason for such a pleasure as she resembles her aunt: the woman whom her father loved and still loves.
Marriage was thwarted by family reason. Then came Róza, the younger sister, satisfied her curiosity about life with the would-be brother-in-law, got pregnant and could be married. Three daughters sprang from this marriage: Iris, Jasmine and Kamilla. Life gets cramped at home as well as in the entire country. Spring in the year 1968 is the time of the great departure: Iris, the elder sister takes advantage of a gap in the Iron Curtain and emigrates to the United States of America, and also for Jasmine the temptation of leaving home and her home country behind grows ….
Zdenka Becker is at home between two countries and in two languages. In a questioning tone, but without vain over-verbalization she tells of the loss of old commitments and the search for a new identity.
Carried off to Europe as a slave, a souvenir of an Africa expedition Gatterbauertwo is second footman to his master Alois Gatterbauer and looking for his home Uganda. After a time of meandering and after many detours he ends up in Hungary, goes to the dogs, and at the home of Count Pallavicini he is to be turned into a cultivated, converted catholic butler. He learns quickly: manners, waiting, German – but most of all he learns to hate.
When heir apparent Franz Ferdinand is killed in Serbia and World War I breaks loose he is well prepared for his new role: He goes to war – for a strange emperor, a strange god, and a country that is not his.
How can you survive Europe, the wild continent, the permanent war in the heart of darkness? And what does humanity mean, when man is nothing more than a cue ball of foreign powers – slave, soldier, object to look on, object of lust, a commodity?
Based on meticulously researched historic material Max Blaeulich draws the picture of a society degenerated to the core: Europe, a culture where moral values have been perverted by racist arrogance and greed; Europe, gloriously stumbling across dead bodies from one catastrophe into the next.
The quote from Dostoevsky tunes in for a grotesque pitch. Blaeulich is a master of this field, and he is in good company: Gogol, Canetti, Gombrowicz, Carlo Emilio Gadda, Sergio Pitol, just to name a few. The genre of the grotesque itself is a blossom of baroque art. Blaeulich is a baroque author not only because of his characterisations, but also because of his roaming, straying, slope-searching way of storytelling. LEOPOLD FÖDERMAIER, NZZ
Geobiological influences on the human body. The book presents the results of the authors fact-research of more than 3000 home- and workingplace-analizes.
Deeper causations concerning insomnia and illness could be found by uncovering geophatic disruptions.
They flock his book launch presentations. At his lectures they stand in line for getting dedications and personalized autographs. And when they have finished reading his latest book they write him letters. Yes, women love him – and he loves them in return. But who are those others, whom Dietmar Grieser renders homage to when he is to himself, aside from his professional life. In twenty-eight sometimes very personal portraits he makes them take curtain calls: women who in certain phases of his life have meant a lot to him, have left a very special impression on him, perhaps have shaped him, in any case women who have secured themselves a permanent place in Dietmar Grieser’s memory. Women, whom he met personally and who have accompanied him for some time on the paths that led him through life, find themselves next to others, whose fate has won him over. And yet others whose picture he “only” got to know in literature, in music, in pieces of the Fine Arts or on film screens.
Dietmar Grieser, the literary investigator: the man who found the bestseller gene.
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).