... and another 13 books, very briefly

Horror to decorate

Christmas. You still see (too?) little Christmas decorations on windows, doors, gardens. But there is so much in the photo book “Oh Tannengrauen” that you are guaranteed not to get in the mood. The 100 pictures are to irritate, not to inspire. Example: the photo above. A German horror show with objects from Chinese online shops. Particularly creative and still appropriate after Christmas Eve: the sculpture of a flamingo with a cap and scarf.

Hinnerk Theisen and Alex Ziegler:

“Oh Tannengrauen” DuMont Verlag.

128 pages. 12.40 euros

KURIER rating: *** and half a star

The mistake of being a “better”.

Discovery. Linden Hills is a settlement for African Americans who “made it” and are now feeling better – who now feel white. There two boys are trying to earn some money cleaning the pools and shoveling snow. They go through circles of hell, similar to Dante’s. Greed, Envy, Deceit and finally Lucifer. Can’t believe that this great 1985 novel by Gloria Naylor has only just been translated.

Gloria Naylor:
Linden Hills
Translated by Angelika Kaps.
union publisher.
400 pages. 27.50 euros

KURIER rating: **** and half a star

It used to be a stupid adventure

poe One way or another is literature. Poe’s only novel – A Mutiny Island Adventure – was criticized at the time as “badly written” and “stupid”… and later, even over-the-top, was hailed as one of the best novels of all time. Poe hesitated whether to startle with cannibalism or tell of a trip that left too many hazelnuts rumbling in his stomach.

Edgar Alan Poe:
Arthur Gordon Pym’s Adventures
Retranslated by Andreas Nohl.
256 pages. 33.50 euros

KURIER rating: ****

Murderous game “Heaven and Hell”

Thriller. A student was stabbed after a party. the killer remained unknown. 16 years later, her mother finds a hopscotch game with heads that her daughter drew on folded paper. Who’s that guy in the middle in hell? It is the narrator in the novel by André Pilz from Vorarlberg. He was in love with the colleague… She was in love with the colleague. Finally no average thriller.

Andre Pilz:
“Murder and Lying”
Suhrkamp Verlag.
304 pages.
16.50 euros

KURIER rating: ****

loneliness in mathematics

set theory. The most mysterious novel of the year, even Cormac McCarthy can’t keep up with “The Passenger” this year. It’s about falling in love – from a friend, from your mother. The Mexican artist Bicecci slowly lets the language disintegrate and increasingly uses graphics from set theory to illustrate loss and loneliness in the book. A challenge (probably also for the translator Birgit Weilguny from Vienna).

Veronica Gerber Bicecci:
“Empty set”
Translated by Birgit Weilguny.
Maro publishing house.
240 pages. 25.50 euros

KURIER rating: *** and half a star

From Tsar to Mayor

Family. Less novel than (excellent) journalistic treatment of the family history, starting today in the Bolin jewelery shop in Stockholm: The Bolins were once the court jewelers of the tsar, their (our) journey through the decades goes to Vienna to Uncle Karl (Seitz, Viennese mayor), to Bad Sauerbrunn , Sweden. Life doesn’t get much more adventurous.

Gunnar Bolin:
“The Children of the Court Jeweler”
Translated by Jürgen father.
Czernin publishing house.
368 pages. 29 euros

KURIER rating: ****

The past stays swedish

After the war. It’s getting louder and louder around this quiet writer. The reviews of his contemporary portraits are becoming increasingly euphoric. Without haste, Ralf Rothmann talks about everyday life in the post-war days (with echoes of his own parents). Apparently aimless – but the goal is: no matter how past the time in the war, it is the floating present. Experiences are passed on for generations.

Ralph Rothmann:
“The Night Under the Snow”
Suhrkamp Verlag.
304 pages.
25.50 euros

KURIER rating: **** and half a star

But nobody needs the bowls

Artificiality. The problem lies in sentences like: “The morning threw off the shells of its birth.” It would be enough that it was still early in the morning … Unfortunately, the novel, which is so topical, constantly distracts from the fact that it is about facts and fakes to art and artificiality. The life of a boring projectionist is rewritten to make it “cool” and get the media hyped.

Baret Magarian:
“The Invention of Reality”
Translated by Catherine Hornung.
Folio Publisher.
480 pages. 29 euros

KURIER rating: *** and half a star

Hikes everywhere

Travel. Karin Ivancsics is a migratory bird, regardless of whether she is drawn to the colorful island of Curaçao or to the desolate Praterstern in Vienna. We are all migratory birds, but not all of us can write about homeland and migration with as much heart (and with such determination) as the woman from Burgenland, whose mother came from Croatia, whose grandmother emigrated to America … stories for togetherness.

Karin Ivancsics:
“We are migratory birds”
Lex Liszt 12.
120 pages.
19.80 euros

KURIER rating: *** and half a star

Letters from Venice’s orphanage

Vivaldi. Peter Schneider’s “Vivaldi and His Daughters” has the advantage that Venice around 1700 has a leading role. The city doesn’t matter to Tiziano Scarpa, a violinist from the orphanage for which Vivaldi composed his concertos, writes letters to her unknown mother and argues with death; Scarpa has 200 records with Vivaldi’s music, which may come close to the pure idea.

Titian Scarpa:
“Stabat mater”
Translated by Olaf Matthias Roth. Wagenbach publishing house.
144 pages. 23.50 euros

KURIER rating: *** and half a star

Something is being torn apart in silence

Classic. She learned from Chekhov, who was still an insider tip at the time, and a good quarter of a century later Ingeborg Bachmann probably also studied some of the 73 short stories by the New Zealander Katherine Mansfield (1923). People are isolated, the dramas take place “inside” with them, “outside” often nobody notices that something is shaking and tearing.

Catherine Mansfield:
“The Garden Party”
Translated by Irma Wehrli. Afterword by Julia Schoch. Manesse Publishers. 544 pages. 27.50 euros

KURIER rating: **** and half a star

Flatbreads to slow down

Cook. Pizza. Focaccia, piadina – and now comes the pinsa: flat cakes that want to make us slow down. Because you need sourdough and yeast and a flour mixture (with soy flour), and the dough has to be in the fridge for at least a day. And you don’t throw the topping on quickly, but – 80 recipes – stir a pesto out of mushrooms, combine apple with fennel …

Daniela Taglialegne and Sven
Oliver Neitzel:
at publisher.
216 pages.
27 euros

KURIER rating: *** and half a star

Historical trip with the “Mafalda”

Atlantic. A miracle: The first fast journey in 1908 on the steamer Mafalda from Genoa to Buenos Aires in 16 days. Anyone who reads is traveling in the luxury class with Richard Strauss, Carlos Gardel and Pirandello; and goes down to the emigrants, third class. A miracle because a “real” Atlantic crossing can hardly leave any more impressions.

Stefan Ineichen:
“Principessa Mafalda”
Wagenbach publishing house.
256 pages.
36 euros
KURIER rating: **** and half a star

Leave a Reply