- Reader profile
[ book tip by Incentives ]
The Austrian biotope always seems to have the right degree of dampness for ominous cases of symbiosis. Anyone who wants to be spared the need to look at the political and media scenes for some glimpses of incestuous love-hate relationships will find that literature provides something in the way of an alternative: the siblings closeness and confinement currently play the main role in Linda Stift’s latest novel Kein Einziger Tag (Not One Single Day).
It is also a case of siblings in the literal sense: Paul and Paco were once even Siamese twins. That is how they were born, and Paul, the reserved one, was jolly glad to have escaped from his brother thanks to the operation which separated them. Paco, on the other hand, an exuberant and noisy character, had never completely come to terms with this. Their existence as adults took on the form of a perpetual game of cops and robbers: Paul built up an existence far away from his brother, only to up sticks when the latter tracked him down again. And now this has happened yet again. In this instance Paul has just set up a comfortable existence for himself – a small business, a girl friend too.
Whenever Paco suddenly starts to occupy space in Paul’s life, then this intrusion is accompanied by an unmistakable element of repulsive corporeality. This is because in Stift’s writing disgust is the silent but omnipresent underlying tone of every relationship.
However, Paul is not merely the victim. He keeps a ‘pet’ hidden in his cellar. The creature is blond and wears cardigans. After he had caught it Paul really intended to let it go immediately. Then, though, he somehow missed the right time to do so ...
It is not only here, but especially here, that the long-suffering Austrian has the feeling that he is suffocating. More and more chasms open up around Paul too.
Linda Stift has an exact knowledge of her literary territory. Her books are precise observations of private sensibilites, and, if you like, of cases of social psychology as well. And that’s the way things are in the psyche: there are always those dark patches lying in wait somewhere or other under the carpet.
Abriged version of the review by Bernhard Oberreither, 29 March 2011
Full German text: http://www.literaturhaus.at/index.php?id=8831
[ book info ] Stift, Linda: Kein einziger Tag.
(Book language: German)
Deuticke in Paul Zsolnay Verlag,
Translated from German
No results found