Stefan Kotzenberger: “Zero Kilometer” – The Great Etiquette War

Wars sometimes arise from trivial causes. In the “Kilometer Null” the trigger is particularly unusual, namely: the literature. When, during the cultural exchange in Austria, a Uruguayan writer accused European literature and, most of all, German-speaking literature of being too “real” and not “imaginative” enough, the continents diverged almost literally: cruise ships became huge refugee boats, destined for to the coasts of South America, erected on dikes because hardly any country is willing to receive Europeans fleeing the “real” – just as steamships full of exiles were turned away from salvaged coasts during World War II.

“Fantasy” are the good guys

“Kilometer Null” oscillates between the atmosphere of a small Austrian xenophobic town and the port cities of South America. There, strict border officials stamp discriminatory letters in the passports of incoming Europeans: “R” stands for “real” or “F” for “fake”—anyone claiming to be an invention is considered a “good man.”

One might think that this aggressive literary scenario is a bit far fetched. But the Austrian writer turns the sharp discord of poetic schools into an incredibly hilarious and exciting novel, one of the most artistic and original that German literature has to offer this season.

The date is only in the plural form

The protagonist of Stefan Kotzenberger’s realistic magical battle painting is called: Stefan Kotzenberger. Not only is he a somewhat successful writer, a bit grotesque, and sexually untapped, but he’s also divided into several people who make their way across South America on different routes – being chased by border guards, in refugee barracks, and narrowly escaped death in the Colombian jungle. Or finding the love of his life unexpectedly in the form of a charismatic bar owner on the Uruguay-Brazil border.

History says at a central point in the book, that there can only be “in the plural (…), there is not just one story, but always many, innumerable even which constantly intersect, touch, contradict, strengthen and repeat each other Cancellation “.

Through Latin American literature

W: This novel is a sharp journey through the literary geography of Latin America. Macondo, the jungle city in Gabriel García Márquez’s world “One Hundred Years of Solitude” plays as pivotal as the fictional city of Santa Maria by Uruguayan writer Juan Carlos Onete. Says Stefan Zweig, who committed suicide near Rio de Janeiro during World War II.

It is difficult—nor necessary—to enumerate or identify all historical and literary allusions, references, and references. Stefan Kutzenberger leads us through a literary world that he created himself. His intercontinental narrative is incredibly powerful and eloquently told. Sarcastic and witty, clever and funny, not a bit dry, despite theoretical literary fantasies.

Light as a feather and fast-paced to read like a crime novel – which is actually a “Kilometer Null”, because the narrative backbone is the chronicle of a publicized death: a shot from a revolver miraculously made its way from Austria to Uruguay. This novel, this hitherto unknown writer Stefan Kotzenberger is an amazing discovery.

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