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Walter Kappacher - The Palace of Flies

Walter Kappacher received the Georg Büchner Prize 2009! 10 days in the life of Hugo von Hofmannsthal: an ageing author returns to the place of his childhood.

August 1924: It is rather embarrassment why the elderly writer H. returns to a place from his childhood – Fusch, a spa in the midst of Salzburg’s mountains where he had spent summer after summer with his parents when he was growing up. A lot has changed in the meanwhile: friendships have grown apart, his fame dates back several years and his work is endangered by his impaired health and the slightest disturbances. The change of time after the war has found its way even into the life in remote Fusch and H., who became a stranger to himself, participates only in observing. During a walk H. becomes unconscious. Awaking, he gets to know young Doctor Krakauer, a duchess’ physician in private practice. He too is a repatriate in a foreign world. H. seeks to gain his friendship, but still there is the duchess and still there is a loneliness he cannot escape from. Walter Kappacher tells from a life, which has been overtaken by the time. He tells with captivating intensity and with lucid empathy, as competent as virtuosic. He confirms his special position in the german-speaking literature: “a rare one” (Peter Handke).

Book details

11th edition
176 pages
format:125 x 205
ISBN: 9783701715107
Release date: 08.01.2009

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Walter Kappacher

born 1938 in Salzburg. Since 1978 he works as freelance writer. Lives in Obertrum near Salzburg. Numerous awards, amongst others the Hemann-Lenz-Preis 2004, Grand Prize of Arts of Salzburg 2006; member of the German Academy for Language and Poetry. 2009 he receives the Georg Büchner Prize.


Walter Kappacher gives Hugo von Hofmannsthal a voice, a tone, when he didn’t have one – a fascinating literary solo. FAZ, Felicitas von Lovenberg

Kappacher writes in an unpretentious, delicately antiquated, wonderful German without blindly aiming at a climax. His language cannot be imitated. Style is character. If you want to write like Kappacher, you have to be Kappacher. That we have him is a rare and precious fortune for German literature. SÜDDEUTSCHE ZEITUNG, Michael Maar

…a masterpiece of contemporary storytelling… DER STANDARD, Hans Höller

Walter Kappacher turns Hugo von Hofmannsthal’s existential crisis into a beautiful little novel. He uses a wonderfully well-tempered language and an equally convincing narrative style to describe the strange state of coming home. DIE ZEIT, Andreas Isenschmid

This book about Hofmannsthal could not be more delicate, subtle or discreet and yet it is devastatingly sad… You will never catch Kappacher’s sober sympathy and his tightly-knit prose slipping into sentimentality. And yet, the inexorable downward path on which he accompanies Hofmannsthal in an unexcitedly factual manner provokes an infinite sadness.” FAZ, Hans-Jürgen Schings