Maybe this time Alois Hotschnig
Austrian fiction (short stories )
Translator – Tess Lewis
Source – review copy
Alois was born in Berg in Austria .He studied medicine ,then German and English language and literature at university of Innsbruck but didn’t get a degree ,since that he has been a freelancer writer working in many fields of writing he has also won 13 prizes for his works including the Austrian writers prize .
Now maybe this time has sat since last german lit month and it was unreviewed ,partly due to the fact I want to use it somewhere maybe in a short story project but never quite got round to it .I found I initially struggled to connect with this collection of stories but I am a believe in Meike and her choices for Peirene so rather than last year post a so so post I decide to reread the collection to see if after a second run through if I connected more to these stories than on my first reading so yesterday I reread it all as it is only 106 pages and actual written probably about seventy-five pages so only took an evening to reread .So on the second rereading I cracked what Hotschnig had in mind .
Whenever I left the house ,they lay in their jetty and when I came back ,hours later they were still lying there .In the sun ,in the shade in the wind and rain .Day in ,day out every day .
The opening lines of the first story the same silence the same noise.
From the opening story onwards the is a feeling of detachment in these stories an old women and her neighbours their ,are they real or spirits is she real why are they there these are all questions you are left with .Elsewhere a woman is seemingly being followed every day via a cafe to her house ,is this a stalker ,detective or just a spirit ? Some one awakes with blisters on their hands and a story in there mind but is it their story or not .These are just some of the tales you encounter in this collection .
I pulled myself together ,convinced the darkness was deceiving me .But my hands throbbed with pain, and with the pain they became mine once more .I tore open the curtains and examined my hands in the daylight .They were covered with blisters .
From the story the beginning of something just what is happening ?
The beauty of these short stories is what is happening in them is left to you as the reader to figure out most of the time .As these are bare bones of stories few names descriptions just happenings and actions most often viewed from the main characters in the stories usually .On the back of the book he is compared to Kafka and Bernhard I don’t see Bern hard although maybe in longer fiction he may be more like the great Austrian master ,I as a reader always assume Bernhard as deep almost self-indulgent prose that make the reader really dive in , this isn’t Hotschnig now part of Kafka I get the feeling of not knowing where you are is a common theme .But for me it brought to mind a couple of things the first is the scenes in the two Wim Wenders films wings of desire and faraway so close were we meet the angels Daniel and Cassiel as they glimpse people life’s as they are sad ,old ,have secrets or stories to tell and we see it through the eyes of the angels .Another collection I was reminded of was Roald Dahls Tales of the unexpected not so much in story lines but more in the fact both collections keep you thinking as the unexpected happens and you wonder where the stories are going .
How is your favourite Austrian writer ?
Do you like stories that make you the reader think ?