born in Vienna in 1946, Rosei studied at Vienna University and received a doctorate in law in 1968. He has been a freelance writer since 1972, based in Vienna and travelling extensively. His numerous awards include the Franz Kafka Prize 1993, the Anton Wildgans Prize 1999 and the Austrian Cross of Honour for Science and Art 2007. He was awarded the Decoration of Honour for Services to the Republic of Austria in 2016. Most recently published: Die "Wiener Dateien" (boxed set of 5 books, 2016), "Karst" (2018), "Die große Straße" (2019).
Lena from the Styrian village, Andràs from the Hungarian tower block and Eva Bartuska from the Czech town of Brno have all come to Vienna seeking happiness and fulfilment. They drift through the city propelled by the promise of social and economic betterment and the dream of true love. But what is this prized happiness? Sometimes it's a branch manager position, sometimes a wild night out, and often a flimsy illusion that shatters on the rocks of everyday hostility. Yet in this novel on the myth of happiness, Rosei strikes an uncharacteristically conciliatory tone. “And so, those who come eye to eye with the degradations of life and abandon all hope, ultimately still have a right to the happiness they long for.”
First published in 1977, “Wer war Edgar Allan?” marked Peter Rosei’s literary breakthrough. An enigmatic game of deception, it is also a rapturous homage to a deeply autumnal Venice and to Poe, the master of cryptic storytelling. Sympathetically adapted into film by Michael Haneke in 1984, the novel combines hallucinatory delirium with precise societal diagnosis. A drug-addicted student roams through Venice, a shady Contessa falls from the roof garden of her palazzo, a drug syndicate quietly rules behind the scenes, and a mysterious gentleman by the name of Edgar Allan seems to be pulling many dark strings. This new edition features Walter Pichler’s cult cover and makes the post-war classic available to a wide readership once more.
Peter Rosei has always been on the move, led by an unfailing curiosity for landscapes and cities, people and their stories. 'The Great Road' for the first time brings together the chronicles of his travels across five decades and three continents. We get to know Peter Rosei as an acutely observant and knowledgeable traveller, who is open to impressions and images, scents and sounds. He steadily approaches the unknown and brings it close, without diminishing its fascination. This wonderfully labyrinthine book takes us from Peking to Los Alamos, from Seoul to Moscow, from Paris to Texas via Bratislava and Istanbul, brimming with the author's appreciation for the vibrancy of the world and the diversity of human life and survival.
Jana, the ambitious daughter of a tired-out hotel owner in the Slovakian Tatras, only has her beauty to help her realise her dreams of a better and more exciting life in the wealthy West. She encounters the profiteer Gstettner, who conducts his murky dealings from Vienna. No matter whether it’s fake designer goods or desperate refugees, Gstettner will trade with anything. Tone Kral, a farmer’s son from the Slovenian Karst region who ekes out a living as a waiter and gigolo, and the aged Viennese theatre critic Kalman complete the quartet. Eager for life, the four characters try to make their way in the grey zone between the old and new political order.
"Whatever you need, you take" Vienna in a gold rush: World War two is over, the black markets are booming, and shady characters are on their way to a new life. The brilliant first part of Rosei's cycle "Wiener Dateien" (Vienna files) span the period from corruption in postwar Vienna to the fancy homes of affluent business people in the 1980s.
With artistic ease, he creates an intricate web entangling the lives of parvenus and bon vivants, professors and politicians, perfect wives and superwomen. At the center of it all are Alfred and Georg, two very different friends: One is an anarchist, the other a baby boomer. Rosei's novel is intense, enthusiastically written prose portraying a city where everything has its price and nothing is sacred…
“We are all trying to dance on a golden globe really, whichever and whatever way it rolls,” Swiss businessman Weill, import/export specialist, says philosophically to his partner Blaschky in Vienna’s Café Imperial. At the same time has-been poet Josef Maria Wassertheurer sits on a Vienna market square fantasizing about his next masterpiece, and far away in St Petersburg a mysterious Mr Chernomyrdin is waiting for a crucial phone call. The criminal network of globalists stretches from Zürich and Paris to Bucharest and Moscow, even including the idyllic Salzkammergut. Maintaining a light touch throughout, Peter Rosei has created a satire which makes reality more visible by distorting it – so evilly you will laugh.
Gisela Stern has made it. Coming from a modest background, she managed to marry into a wealthy family, made a career for herself working at a bank and became part of the social elite. And yet, something is missing. She feels a sense of unfulfilled desire, of not quite belonging. When a good-looking, ambitious man enters her life, the carousel of power starts to spin, spinning out of control as politics and desire become more and more entangled…
Peter Rosei’s novel – true to his typically laconic style – is the masterful staging of a woman’s rise and fall in the complicated web of a highly corrupt society. A sharp-witted and multifaceted novel.
Life is merely a chance and Georg Asamer has grabbed it: He made it as the boss of a highly successful advertisement agency. After he appoints Andy Sykora as his successor, he recognizes that he has become old – business strategies have changed. Hans Falenbruck, a random acquaintance of Sykora and heir to a large pharmaceutical enterprise, has kept up with the times: He travels to Vienna in order to conquer the Eastern European market. Then there is Irma Wonisch, Falenbruck’s old flame from a good family, who gets together with Tom Loschek. The aspiring broker sparks a sense of adventure in all of them with his appealing investment ideas…
Peter Rosei leads us into the heart of a world where – at times by chance, yet always inevitably –destructive wishes and high hopes collide. “Geld!” is a laconically fascinating book, a sharp witted puzzle with comedic undertones.
Actually everything starts quite harmless. Paul Wukitsch, grown up in poor circumstances, is outstandingly intelligent. His mother makes it possible for him to study theology. Nevertheless, Paul is sceptical about church and his scepticism leads to several infringements and finally to his exclusion from the seminary.
Alexander Altmann’s career is varied, too. He had married into money, but after the suicide of his wife and the consequential scandal, the tide turns …
Their paths of life could not differ more, but as their paths meet, the story takes a sudden course.
Peter Rosei draws the bow from the beginning of the 20th to the 21st century. The kaleidoscope of his characters creates a serried tableau full of tension. He describes the impact of a superior system on individuals in his laconic style which still is full of musicality. And he tells from the slow maturation catastrophes.
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.