When the writer and lawyer Albert Drach (1902-1995) was awarded the Georg Büchner Prize of the German Academy for Language and Letters in 1988, there was great astonishment even in usually well-informed literary circles. Albert Drach – who? A man who had caused a sensation in the 60s and 70s with novels such as "Das große Protokoll gegen Zwetschkenbaum" [The Massive File on Zwetschkenbaum, trans. Harvey I. Dunkle] and "Untersuchung an Mädeln", who was mistakenly hailed as the new Herzmanovsky-Orlando and finally forgotten again. But the Drach renaissance initiated by the Büchner Prize brought the decisive turning point. A new generation of readers and critics discovered in Drach (now aged 86) – whom the Times Literary Supplemement had counted in the same breath as Elias Canetti as being amongst the "most important avant-gardists in the German language" – one of the most original and radical writers after 1945.
In 1988, Eva Schobel began her series of conversations with the author. She encountered a still raging but wise man who judged the Austria of the Second Republic, contemporary literature, and also his own life and work, with provocative severity.
“As regards his will towards monomania, Gerhard Amanshauser cannot compare to his friend Thomas Bernhard. In terms of literary boldness, Thomas Bernhard cannot compare to Gerhard Amanshauser. Of all Austrian writers yet to be discovered, this cosmopolitan from Salzburg is the most important.”
FALTER, Daniel Kehlmann
“As Barbarian in the Prater” is more than the autobiography of its author born in 1928 in Salzburg. It is also an engaging novel about childhood and youth in Austria (1928-1950).
Peter Henisch’s novel follows the title’s hero over the course of half a century on his search for his father and happiness. It’s the story of the son of an Austrian tram conductress and a black American serviceman, born 1946 in Vienna. At this time, and indeed up to the 1970s, there were hardly any coloured people in Vienna and they were not regarded as a threat. By the 1990s, when Peter Jarosch briefly and unsuccessfully returns there after a spell in New Orleans, the issue of “foreigners” has become one of the most politically explosive in Austria. Peter’s colour, however, is not the essence of what makes him different. The real point is that he simply feels different. This is brought home to him in childhood when, cast as one of the Three Kings in the Nativity play, he, for obvious reasons, is the only one who does not have to make up.
Henisch gives us in fact a substantial character study in which the fortunes of the hero-narrator subtly but sweepingly follow those of post-war Austria itself. A plus, moreover, for the Anglo-Saxon reader is the device of moving part of the action to the USA, to which Peter emigrates and where, one is led to surmise, he ends as an alcoholic bar pianist.
Kathrin Röggla is eavesdropping on this Berlin of words, discovering sounds, dialogues and scenes that have never been heard in this raving lightness before (…) prose sustained by a distinct sound.
Hanns Zischler, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung
Kathrin Röggla takes the new Berlin by its words: (...) scores on urban lingo and the syndromes of the urban scene, consistently put down in lower-case.
Christiane Zintzen, Neue Zürcher Zeitung
Every note, whether produced by an instrument, the vocal cords or something else, holds many harmonics. They show us a direction, define the tone color and give the acoustic signal a sense of poetry.
Not only notes get their own character and value this way. An encounter between people, every experience, every being also becomes a special imprint through tunes, thoughts and feelings.
It’s these vibrations Giden Kremer's book talks about. It’s about musical reflections, about the power and effects of music. We also read about the things that form the everyday life of an artist. What does the inner and outer world of an artist look like, how does he look at his profession, his craft and not the music industry.
And last but not least we learn about what happens at a rehearsal or a performance, why the artist chooses a certain cadence for a concert, what moves him during applause, how he copes with the loneliness and how he deals with the downside of success.
They are bright and light observations, that invade your subconscious but often they’re, with a dignified irony which colors the event: harmonics!