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Peter Henisch - The Small Figure of my Father

Novel

Peter Henisch und Walter Henisch, der Schriftsteller und der Photograph: das Protokoll einer Vater-Sohn-Beziehung zwischen Annäherung und Abwendung. Und ein Buch über die Möglichkeiten der Verständigung zwischen einer Generation, für die die Schrecken des Zweiten Weltkriegs Erlebnishöhepunkt waren und zugleich Routine, und den Spätgeborenen, die das nicht begreifen können.

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.

Book details

This edition has been revised by the author.
272 pages
format:125 x 205
ISBN: 9783701713806
Release date: 01.08.2004

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Authors
Peter Henisch

Born 1943 in Vienna; post-war childhood followed by reconstruction-era puberty; studied philosophy and psychology; co-founded “Wespennest” literary magazine with Helmut Zenker in 1969; a footloose author since the 1970s.

Henisch's debut novel “Die kleine Figur meines Vaters” was first published in 1975 (English translation “Negatives Of My Father” published in 1990). Many novels followed, including “Die schwangere Madonna” (2005), “Eine sehr kleine Frau” (2007), “Mortimer und Miss Molly” (2013), and “Suchbild mit Katze” (2016). He has received numerous awards, including the Austria Kunstpreis.  Most recently published by Residenz Verlag: “Der Jahrhundertroman” (2021).

Press

"Since his autobiographical novel Die kleine Figur meines Vaters, Peter Henisch has been regarded as an important voice from Austria.“
Burghardt Scherer, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

“Not only the deliberately stylised "figure" of the father ("small" refers to his physical size) but also the minor figures and episodes are endowed with unmistakable colour and function, demonstrating eloquently how precisely and concisely Peter Henisch has learned to apply his artistic resources. This precision is shown to linguistic advantage in a simplicity reminiscent of Joseph Roth.“
Friedrich Torberg, Die Welt

“The book that evolved thus is, in a certain way, a record of a father-son relationship. It captures a gradual approach, repeatedly interrupted by periods of misunderstanding. It demonstrates unemotionally the conflict between a generation for which World War II, with all its horror, was a highlight of their experience, and those born later, to whom this is incomprehensible – who are not prepared to accept the death of millions as a routine event which has to be attended with a camera.“
Duglore Pizzini, Wochenpresse

“Die kleine Figur meines Vaters (1975) is one of the few books that have survived unharmed the patricides of those years.”
Thomas Rothschild, Frankfurter Rundschau

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