Stefan Kutzenberger – From catfish to immortality

The question of who (Stefan) Kutzenberger actually is may arise at different levels. Marking Austrian author and literary scholar Stefan Kutzenberger’s new novel about the main character Kutzenberger, one thing can be said straight from the first page, based on a quote from Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction: Kutzenberger is dead, child. Kutzenberger died…

After all, a bullet is put in the protagonist’s head in order to end a trilogy of novels announced now in retrospect in Kilometer Noll, which comes as a salute from home in distant Santa Maria. lively! The shot was fired from a pistol made by the Austrian company Glock.

many hooks

Anticipating one’s death is one thing—especially in the realm of self-imagination, which Kutzenberger so widely cultivates. The other thing is to enjoy the flow of brain matter with detailed descriptions of forensics on several pages of the book. In what follows, the third objective will be to keep readers on track with a 400-page description of the course of events with many hooks and many secondary chains, often intertwined. A lot can be revealed: Stefan Kutzenberger runs this exercise with great ease.

Unlike its predecessors, Kutzenberger’s first novel “Fredinger” from 2018 and “Jokerman” about Bob Dylan, Donald Trump and the global conspiracy, which followed two years later, the story is not told in first person this time. The narrator repeatedly apologizes for his embarrassment and only reveals his identity on page 139. Fitting into the novel’s meta-level, which this time leads to the heart of literature and the art of storytelling itself, it is about a character from Stefan Kotzenberger’s first book, who does not necessarily mean well with the author because Stupid story since then and now she has authority over him – or she, Kutzenberger’s character – begins to rehearse.

“You Live Your Life As If It Were Real”: A quote from a song by the great Canadian singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen (“A Thousand Kisses Deep” from 2001) that predates the novel suggests that the gray area between any genre was “reality” and the primal literary force that The so-called fantasy again plays a very important role. By the way, the 2006 movie “Stranger Than Fiction” was based on a similar, albeit completely different, fact. In it, Will Ferrell gave a flesh-and-blood fictional character who was also to be shot.

Entero restricted

The background story of the “Kilometer Null” is told quickly, despite various leaps, if of course absurd on paper: Kutzenberger, as part of a UNESCO exchange program on his way to Uruguay (of course in a long time the “Volendam”, translated by Thomas Mann and his wife) Katya to the USA), after the outbreak of war sparked by a book review, they end up stranded in a detention center and mistakenly given the name Magu Drew. The division into “real” (and thus oppressed by the regime) and “imaginary” (those who maintain their liberty) as an example of the division of society and as a literary side-thesis on European and South American approaches to poetry finally also forces the author to provide proof of identity.

His books will communicate this. As mentioned, they fall into the field of automatic literature and now they are also called “wrong”, they sometimes ask more questions than answers. And they confront our persecuted hero with more serious embarrassment, such as checking the status of a possible erection in an ambush disguised as an attempt at courtship. In any case, Stefan Kutzenberger has no objection to playing tricks on himself.

shrewd and funny

The journey of no less than 11,300 kilometers from Wells – the former temporary home of the 50-year-old author as a town clerk and unfortunately also the first stop on the exchange programme, but from a poetic faraway point of view it is actually considered the “City of the Kiss of the Inspired” – but eternity is not just a journey to absurdity.

“The novel only pretends to describe the city. In fact, it invents it”: while Santa Maria is a fictional place invented by Juan Carlos Onetti and Kotzenberger Wells – catfish everywhere!! – If the escape scenes from the brutal murder of a “grass witch” were not invented in the woods, at least they are more strongly engraved in literary history, for example, also turning into a journey into the blackest blacks possible.

On the other hand, the posthumous reincarnation of the author’s souls is available in Buddhist terminology (rebirth in the form of chaos…) and as the letter “Grüß Gott!”. Subtly said and captivating, exaggerated, sympathetic and often very funny, Stefan Kotzenberger was definitely playing in his own league.

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