logo kopfgrafik links adresse mitte kopfgrafik rechts



   Wien Kultur


   Netzwerk Literaturhaeuser


   arte Kulturpartner


kopfgrafik mitte

Sandra Gugic: Astronauten. [Astronauts]

de  en  fr  span  cz

Munich: C. H. Beck Verlag, 2015
ISBN 978-3-406-67370-2

Sandra Gugic


This is an extraordinary book. Nevertheless, there is little about the initial configuration of Astronauts, the first novel to be published by Viennese author Sandra Gugic (born in 1976), to suggest that this might be one of the most interesting books of this spring. The social setting is sketchy, and the urban space is only sporadically mentioned by name. Six very different protagonists move within the fluid network of a metropolis: Zeno, a kind of reincarnation of Huck Finn, with an evident migrant background, i.e. family roots in ex-Yugoslavia; his school friend Darko, whose father Alen is a taxi driver who dropped out of university and has been working on a 136-page manuscript for years; and the policeman Niko, a friend of Alen’s, married, and the father of a one-year-old child, yet with a relationship to his wife and offspring that is emotionally precarious. In addition there is the artists’ daughter Mara, whose father shot himself as a result of his lack of artistic success and whose mother has, after initially successful exhibitions, become a self-absorbed follower of a TV guru, and who falls asleep drunk around the apartment in the evenings. Lastly, there is Alex, a junkie from a good home, who gets by in life as a petty criminal.
The refined and at the same time stupendous thing about this novel is that Sandra Gugic, who studied at the University of Applied Arts in Vienna and subsequently at the Institute of German Literature in Leipzig, and in 2012 won the open-mic reading competition in Berlin with an excerpt from
Astronauten, gives each of the characters in turn a chance to express themselves in a chapter of their own. The individual characters therefore begin to portray themselves, in sometimes rapid, then again pensively mottled staccato short sentences. They get close, very close, to us through the cataractic, hasty and generally unreflected ways in which they speak and think. The movements of the figures within the spaceless space crisscross and overlap, relating to one another sometimes more distinctly, sometimes in a blurred and pointillistic manner.
This intense prose is distinguished on the one hand by the pull of its language, and on the other by the cleverly concealed art of creating a narrative full of literary references. The epigraphs that head the three parts are anything but random choices: one by Samuel Beckett, one by William S. Burroughs, and one by the dramatist Chris Thorpe. Right at the end of the book, Gugic laconically elaborates on the allusions and alienations that have been smuggled into the text, drawn from Jörg Fauser, John Steinbeck and Franz Kafka, as well as material derived from Billy Wilder’s film
The Apartment.

Abridged version of the review by Alexander Kluy, 12.03.2015
English translation by Peter Waugh
Full German Text: http://www.literaturhaus.at/index.php?id=10661

>> Incentives
































Link zur Druckansicht
Ein Album für die Ewigkeit – Bodo Hell zu Gast bei Fritz Ostermayer

Di, 26.03.2019, 19.00 Uhr Autor/inn/en reden über Musik und Textproduktion Ich befürchte, dass...

open mike 2018 on tour

Mi, 27.03.2019, 19.00 Uhr Lesungen der open-mike-Preisträger/innen 2018 Der seit 1993 jährlich...

Ein verborgenes Netzwerk – Zu Gast bei Alois Vogel von 1953 bis 1966

30.01.2019 bis 18.04.2019 In Alois Vogels Haus in Pulkau fand sich eine kleine Archivbox mit über...

Hommage an Jakov Lind (1927-2007)

01.04. bis 25.04.2019 Der Autor, Maler und Filmemacher Jakov Lind, 1927 als Sohn jüdischer Eltern...

Soeben erschienen – die flugschrift Nr. 26 von Thomas Havlik

Thomas Havliks poetisches Tun ist an den Grenzen von Sprache angesiedelt, dort, wo Sprache...

Bücherflohmarkt von 18.03. bis 11.04.2019

Mit neuwertigen Spendenbüchern und Dubletten - darunter viele aktuelle literarische Titel. Der...