Wallstein Verlag

Robert Schneider

Book without Meaning

212 pages
ISBN: 978-3-8353-5195-0 (Februar 2022)


German Version

101 micro-tales, legends, fables, and reflections on time. Robert Schneider writes unexpectedly, is critical, focuses on what has happened or what is longed for.

In 101 stories, Robert Schneider takes us to ancient Chinese dynasties, to the southern end of Central Park in New York, to the president from the land of the blue mountains, to a village in the Valais or in the Vorarlberg, to Shah Abbas the Great from the Safavid dynasty, or even directly to fairy tale land.
There, for example, he lets two shoes argue about right and left, and about whether these political categories are still useful nowadays. Strawberries mock a lemon that has fallen into a flower bed, or shopping carts debate the limits of the capitalist economy and come to talk about Adorno.
Schneider introduces us to Podrhasky, who encounters death, and to a homeless man who uses grand religious gestures to beg for spare change, leaving a pretty cool teenager at least a little unsettled or maybe even with some insight.
Many stories boil down to a kind of fable morality, or rather, they seem to boil down to it. For often, almost always, Schneider twists the short stories, allowing the unexpected, the contrary, to break in and thus broaden the horizon of the texts, intertwining the authentic and the invented. In doing so, he neither shies away from pathos nor irony, which he sometimes takes to the extreme and absurd.

Robert Schneider born 1961, lives in Vorarlberg / Austria, where he grew up. His novel »Schlafes Bruder« achieved international fame in 1992. The book was translated into 36 languages (e.g. »Brother of Sleep«, Harry N. Abrams, 1995; »Brother of Sleep«, Overlook Book, 2014; »Frére sommeil«, Calmann-Levy, 1995; »Le voci del mondo«, Einaudi, 1994; »Hermana del sueño, Tusquets, 1994; »Wie liefheeft slaapt niet«, Uitgeverijen De Arbeiderspers, 1998) and awarded, among others, the ›Prix Médicis Étranger‹ (Paris) and the ›Premio Grinzane Cavour‹ (Turin). This was followed by the novels »Die Luftgängerin« (1998), »Die Unberührten« (2000), »Schatten« (2002), »Kristus« (2004) and most recently »Die Offenbarung« (2007). His 1993 play »Dreck« (»Dirt«, Ariadne Press, 1996) is still one of the most frequently performed monologues on German-language stages and has been made into a film. He also wrote the children’s book »Der Schneeflockensammler« (2020).
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