born in 1939 in Pichl, lives and works as a freelance writer in Klagenfurt. Numerous awards; f.e. the “Wilhelm-Raabe-Prize” 1984, the “Heinrich-Gleißner-Prize” 1994, the “Adalbert-Stifter-Prize” and the “Cultural Prize of Upper Austria” 2005.
In his 'Journey through Life', Alois Brandstetter created a tongue-in-cheek summary of his CV, and here the playful storytelling continues. On one of his walks, his eye is caught by an inscription: ‘Rubicon’, it says, and to his great astonishment, the name refers to a brutal-looking pickup jeep. Brandstetter begins to reminisce about cars and the trips he has taken in his life, about accidents and incidents, about paths, destinations, and the charm of meandering aimlessly through the world of things and of words. Observations about language alternate with anecdotes, memories with literary allusions, and ultimately, while we certainly don’t end up crossing the Rubicon, we do cross the finish line of a thoroughly enjoyable excursion with an incomparably hilarious author.
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.
An anonymous narrator makes a complaint to the postmaster of a small Bavarian country post office about the weaknesses of the postmen: one is an alcoholic, the second a womaniser, the third has succumbed to a cultural vice. Of course, the com-plainant’s discontent also applies to the butcher, the vet, the teachers and others – in short: to the inadequacy of the world. The writer, a local resident, keeps complaining about the postal delivery. It is unreliable, he says; the postal delivery is the most unreliable thing. If that’s the way it is, says Blumauer, if that local resident is complaining about the postal delivery, then the following will happen: I shall complain about my moped.
From Austrian writer Adalbert Stifter to Rawlplugs, from Sebastian Brant’s “Ship of Fools” to the alarm system that his wife would like for Christmas, from holy relics to unholy bigots: Alois Brandstetter addresses the minutiae of everyday existence and the big questions of life with equal measures of inquisitiveness, insight and irony. Encounters with curious contemporaries and contemporary concepts give rise to reflections that are full of knowledge and worldly wisdom. The “certification of existence” which Brandstetter has to provide to the German Pension Department every year inspires him to deliver one of the most assertive and meaningful “signs of life” in this wonderfully enjoyable book.
Witty and inquisitive, Alois Brandstetter goes in search of his patron saint and namesake Aloysius. The journey takes him to Mantua in Italy at the turn of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. The thoroughly chaste Aluigi, who died young, has just been beatified, and his mother is looking to have his portrait painted for the new church being built in his name. The job is offered to Rubens of all people, whose work celebrates the pleasures of the flesh, but he turns it down and recommends the boy wonder Van Dyck, nineteen and highly talented. Letters fly between Mantua and Amsterdam. Will Aluigi’s Portrait ever be painted? Perhaps not on canvas but certainly in the form of an enchanting historical fantasy created by Alois Brandstetter.
In the summer of 2012, a suggestion box was stolen from the Don-Bosco-Church in Klagenfurt. Did the thief confuse the suggestion box with the offertory box even though it had "Tell us what you think! Suggestions, requests, complaints" written on it? Or was the person who took it fed up with people being fed up with church and state? Or had the thief grown tired of the constant moaning and groaning and ranting and raging wearing out suggestion boxes all over? Or was it some kind of harmony-freak who needed his fix of fixing things?
Alois Brandstetter sheds light on this bizarre case. His criminalistic and detective investigation is poetically funny and reveals a number of strange coincidences and clues. An exquisitely witty read!
The three postmen Ürdinger, Blumauer and Deuth have all retired. Every week they get together at the local pub, reminisce about the old working days and comment on changes in today’s world. They speak about everything and everyone, including the national mail’s partners. The scope of their conversations extends to subjects such as crime (sometimes), “feminism” (more frequently), folklore (every now and then) and zoology. After all, there’s lots to be discussed: whether it’s the postmistress’ refusal to deliver mail to the local nudist camp or the two men who robbed the post office disguised in burqas…
The mental capers sparked by these discussions exceed the imaginable. The Austrian Post’s mascot fox says speaks as he pleases. Alois Brandstetter is still an unrivaled master of words, presenting us with a whirlwind of subjects and anecdotes.
In August 1791 Maria von Herbert from Klagenfurt writes a letter to Immanuel Kant in Königsberg. She is asking the ageing celibate for comfort and advice – because Maria von Herbert is lovesick. This is historical documented. The young and talkative amanuensis of Kant is answering her in the name of his master and he responds to problems, the young woman is not suffering from. This is documented in Brandstetter’s way. Kant’s amanuensis reflects on various peculiarities and strangnesses; f.e. whether one can admire Kant, when one is admiring Goethe as well. And last but not least he reflects on a question, that affects all of us: how to get rid of lovesickness?
This one-letter-novel is humorous, witty and smart, full of sarcasm as well as sapiency. Greetings from cant is a book is comfort and advice – but, most of all, it is a pleasurable read.
Unscramble the code!
Alois Brandstetter investigates in the secret world of graffiti.
“Korks” says the writing on the wall, over there, and there again, and there and there... Is it a code? A message? Or just a signature? Like a detective, Alois Brandstetter starts to track down meaning and origin of the graffito and adds his philosophic thoughts on manifestations of youth culture, resistance or simply the sweetness of forbidden fruit. But what is the motivation behind these markings? Starting from Josef Kyselak, the Austrian ancestral graffiti writer who even left his mark on the emperor’s desk, Brandstetter describes his personal struggle with the adversities of life. And there are reasons abound for irritation: from compulsory wearing of helmets to higher speed limits, from social injustice to the alleged right on individual freedom, from Günter Grass to...
While chasing “Korks”, Brandstetter draws an extensive picture of our society today. The world of graffiti artists, however, remains mysterious... An eloquent, funny and witty companion through the empire of the “unknown vandals”.
Er galt in der Antike als Liebling der Götter. Seine Schönheit, seine Merkwürdigkeit seien kaum zu übertreffen, hieß es, und seine Stimme beschreibt Oppianos mit den Worten: "Kein Mensch kann einen Vogel nennen, der lieblicher sänge als ein Eisvogel."
In Oberösterreich, Brandstetters Heimat, nennt man ihn nicht ohne Ironie Eisenkeil. Lange glaubte man ihn verschollen, wenn nicht gar ausgestorben, doch 1998, in dem Jahr, als Alois Brandstetter sechzig Jahre wurde und zugleich Ehrenbürger seiner Heimatgemeinde Pichl, tauchte der Vogel seiner Kindheit dort plötzlich wieder auf. Ein willkommener Anlass, um ihm nach allen Regeln der poetischen Zoologie nachzuspüren, angefangen vom mythischen Altertum bis zu seiner überraschenden Epiphanie. Der Ruf der Treue und Zärtlichkeit, die dem Eisvogel seit Aristoteles und Ovid nachgesagt werden, sind Ausgangspunkt für sehr persönliche Bekenntnisse Brandstetters: "Das Besondere an meinem unabenteuerlichen Leben besteht wohl darin, dass ich mit dem nicht Besondern besonders achstsam umgegangen bin, mit dem Unspektakulären bei meiner Schriftstellerei mein Auslangen gefunden habe und aus dem nicht Prächtigen oder Glänzenden merkwürdigerweise Funken geschlagen habe."
»Alle Jahre wieder …«, so beginnt eines unserer geläufigsten Weihnachtslieder, und es liegt gewiß etwas Beruhigendes in dieser gleichbleibenden Wiederkehr. Und doch ist kein Jahr wie das andere, und wenn die Adventszeit naht, wenn es draußen kalt und in der Stube geheizt ist, dann rückt man wohl so manches Mal mit der Familie und guten Freunden zusammen und erinnert sich gegenseitig an Geschichten und Begebenheiten. Sie liegen vielleicht schon lang zurück, aber sind im Gedächtnis geblieben, weil sie für die Erwachsenen etwas Besonderes oder für die Kinder etwas Neues waren. Da mischt sich dann oft Behagliches mit Bewahrtem. Solcherart sind auch die Geschichten, die Alois Brandstetter in diesem Buch erzählt. Es sind Erinnerungen an die Winter und Weihnachtsfeste seiner Jugend, die er in dem kleinen Ort Pichl in Oberösterreich verbracht hat in den Jahren nach dem großen Krieg und der bösen Herrschaft. Aber ob Brandstetter vom Eisstockschießen, vom Sternsingen oder von frühen Skiversuchen berichtet, vom ersten Radioapparat oder von einer großen Überschwemmung, er tut es erfrischend unsentimental und immer detailfreudig und genau. Wenn volkstümliche Erzählliteratur über Weihnachten heute noch möglich ist, dann so.
H. C. Artmanns prose has lost none of its magic, and feels as powerful, surprising and multi-dimensional as ever. Every line of these 1800 pages is full of the effervescent spirit, the immense wealth of form and imagination, and the subtle wit of this stand-alone figure of Austrian literature. There are few real wonders in the world but H. C. Artmann is one of them.