Art And Culture

Austrian Writer Hosted by Book City

Austrian Writer Hosted by Book City
Austrian Writer Hosted by Book City

Tehran’s Book City Institute recently hosted Austrian writer Karin Peschka to shed light on modern Austrian literature.

The session focused on a review of Peschka’s acclaimed novel ‘Watschenmann’ and was attended by Ali-Asghar Haddad, Persian translator of German literature, Noin Lambert, Austrian literary figure and Ali-Asghar Mohammadkhani, cultural deputy of Book City Institute, Mehr News Agency reported.

Published in 2014, the novel is about events in Vienna after World War II.

It reflects on the hard postwar years when reconstruction and economic recovery dominated the period. “However, not everyone finds support in a society that is trying to forget the war and violence of the past.

Lydia, Dragan and Henry are among the uprooted who live in a shed to sketch a different picture of the post-war society,” Peschka says about the book in her personal website.

The Serb Dragan fights for some sort of normality that he cannot find. Lydia loses hope that her fiancé will return from captivity.

Henry, the ‘Watschenmann’, concocts his own world of thoughts.

The novel tells the ambivalent relationship between the three characters, with tremendous linguistic impact.

The general atmosphere is inspired by Peschka’s real life, Lambert said. “Her father was a motel manager in a small city in Austria. The story is completely under the influence of her own challenges in life and also the World War II.”

“Arthur Schnitzler, Austrian author and dramatist hugely changed my life, as I started reading his works when I was 18,” Peschka said.

The novel could be completely absorbed by people who have witnessed or read about the war, because “they must have felt what I felt.” It is the outburst of internal emotions about WW II, like a scar “not healed until it’s written down.”

There are two types of writers in Austria. “Those socially and internally motivated.” Due to the existing tough social situation, the number of authors writing on social issues is increasing,” she added.

Peschka, 48, attended the Social Academy of the Austrian Chamber of Labor in Linz. To compile information for ‘Watschenmann’, she worked with alcoholics and unemployed young people.

Her novel won the Wartholz Literature Prize in 2013.