Jagoda Mariniċ: Restaurant Dalmatia

das graue sofa

Marinic_2Als Mia zu einem Auslandssemester nach Kanada kommt, geht alles plötzlich ganz leicht. Aus Mija Markoviċ wird Mia Markovich, aus dem Anglistik-Studium wird ein Studium der Kunst, niemand fragt sie, woher sie denn komme, aber jeder fragt, was sie als nächstes vorhabe, welche Pläne sie verwirklichen möchte. Alles ist so, wie Mia es sich immer erträumt hat, hier scheint auch für sie das pursuit of happiness Realität zu werden. Da ist Jane, bei der Mia wohnt, und die sich mehr um Mia kümmert, als ihre Mutter es je getan hat. Da sind die neuen Freunde, da ist Raphael, den sie beim Studium kennenlernt und der Dokumentarfilmer wird. Aus dem Auslandssemester wird ein Leben in Toronto. Mia bricht alle Brücken nach Europa ab, nichts soll sie mehr an ihr altes, unglückliches Leben erinnern. Und dann gewinnt sie auch noch den Grange-Prize, einen renomierten Preis für Fotografie, und ihr stehen noch…

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Dienstag, 14.Juni

Kulturbuchhandlung Jastram in Ulm

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Heute haben
Yasunari Kawabata * 1899
Judith Kerr * 1923
Hermann Kant * 1926
Dieter Forte * 1935
Manuel Vázquez Montalbán * 1939
Kathrin Röggla * 1971
Geburtstag.
Aber auch Che Guevara und Steffi Graf.

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Heute abend um 20 Uhr kommt Jagoda Marinic in die Ulmer Volkshochschule.
Eingeladen wurde sie mit ihrem neuen Buch: „Made in Germany. Was ist deutsch in Deutschland?“
Wir hatten sie mit „Restaurant Dalmatia“ in unserer Buchhandlung und davor auch schon mit älteren Romanen und Erzählungen, die noch bei Suhrkamp erschienen sind. Und wer dieses Jahr Urlaub in Kroatien machen will, sollte sich vorher ihre „Gebrauchsanweisung für Kroatien“ holen. Ein Buch voller Geschichten über das Land und die Leute.
Jetzt aber noch etwas zum Buch, das in der vh im Mittelpunkt stehen wird.

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Jagoda Marinic:„Made in Germany. Was ist deutsch in Deutschland?“
Hoffmann & Campe Verlag € 16,00

„Deutschland ist kein…

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Sophie Scholl – in all her courage

„The real damage is done by those millions who want to „survive.“ The honest men who just want to be left in peace. Those who don’t want their little lives disturbed by anything bigger than themselves. Those with no sides and no causes. Those who won’t take measure of their own strength, for fear of antagonizing their own weakness. Those who don’t like to make waves — or enemies. Those for whom freedom, honor, truth, and principles are only literature. Those who live small, mate small, die small. It’s the reductionist approach to life: if you keep it small, you’ll keep it under control. If you don’t make any noise, the bogeyman won’t find you. But it’s all an illusion, because they die too, those people who roll up their spirits into tiny little balls so as to be safe. Safe?! From what? Life is always on the edge of death; narrow streets lead to the same place as wide avenues, and a little candle burns itself out just like a flaming torch does. I choose my own way to burn.“

― Sophie Scholl –

Rede am Davidson College (USA) zum 25. Jahrestag der Deutschen Einheit | „What we talk about when we talk about us“

„MADE IN GERMANY has always been an immigrants´ brand“

Es war ein unvergesslicher Abend im Hance Auditorium des renommierten Davidson Colleges in den USA.

Anlässlich des 25. Jubiläums der deutschen Einheit ein Abend, an dem ich die Einheit aus Sicht der Einwanderer betrachtet habe und den Dialog, den ich seit Jahren mit „meinen“ US – amerikanischen Autoren führe, mit den Menschen vor Ort fortsetzen konnte… Thank you!

Between the World and Me (Ta-Nehisi Coates) // Reading for Davidson

I am enjoying my summer off in Croatia, by the sea, for weeks now, an incredible heat has been protecting me from activities physically demanding.

I came here with a suitcase full of books, most of them by writers whom I hope will enrich my conversation with the people at Davidson College. I got a book from Scott before I left for Croatia. I knew this book would be required reading not only because Toni Morrison says so on the back, but also because Junot Diaz says so on his Facebook account and maybe because you feel it when there is book that will provoke people´s thinking. I reread Toni Morrisons´ „The Bluest Eye“ before I turned to Ta-Nehisi Coates´ „Between the World and Me“.

„The Bluest Eye“ more than once was almost too much for me in the sense that fiction in its purity can be so much more brutal than non-fiction. But more on „The Bluest Eye“ later. „Between the World and Me“ is a book that asks of you a grounded standpoint to read from. Reading Coates´ prose pulls you into Coates´ world, you see the world through his eyes and magically so, his eyes open up a new perspective not only for your view at his world but also for your view on your own world. In the New York Times Michelle Alexander confesses her disappointment about Coates´ unwillingness to give us answers to big questions in this book. To me this is the beauty of the book: It is a way of mapping the streams of our conscious and unconscious thinking and remembering into a map of who we are – at this point. While reading, you can follow Coates´ own ways to the Voice he is now writing in. You read about his questions. About his truths shattered.

When looking at the United States from Europe, Germany, you can hardly believe the news about the killing of what Coates calls the Black Body. Last year´s news to pass your media-drenched mind is all it takes to start to deny reality by almost remembering it like fiction. This can´t be true, not in 2015. The killings seem so brutal and drastic that you think the whole problem is so singular, so incomparable to the problems of any other minority and society in the West at the moment. It is overwhelming, observed from here, it seems so unreal, and through his personal prose Coates makes it not only real to me, he makes it close. And then in a moment of epiphany that Coates describes for his own thinking, you realize you can´t free yourself from the problems and pain by calling them American Only. It is about the vulnerability of people not in power. And each of them deserves his or her own story.
„In my survey course of America, I´d seen portraits of the Irish drawn in the same ravenous, lustful, and simian way. Perhaps there had been other bodies, mocked and terrorized, and insecure. Perhaps the Irish too had once lost their bodies. Perhaps being named „black“ was just someone´s name for being at the bottom, a human turned to object, object turned to pariah.
This heap of realizations was a weight. I find them physically painful and exhausting.“
In so many moments I find this book physically painful and exhausting. But at the same time – not only because of its poetic and tender language – a source of strength for the struggle he sees so much value in.
There is a tone throughout the whole book that is somehow non-American to me: Coates doesn´t believe in the Happy End. He doesn´t believe in the narrative of a civilization turned better, doesn´t believe in our successful way to more humanity. He might be unrealistic or unjust, unfair to those who need that belief in order to keep the struggle up. But his achievement is to be able to believe in the struggle in spite of not believing in a possible victory. He certainly does not allow defeat. To find the strength for struggle when you don´t believe in victory is not only humble, as some critics put it, it is realistic. By writing and thinking this way, he denies them his contribution to the Narrative of the American Dream and builds on something he wishes for in this world: A better Reality.

I love how Coates ignores Obama’s Dreamers, young illegal immigrants, and makes North America’s suburban white middle class the Dreamers. He turns the Myth the US has created around dreams against the Dreamers. Just for seeing the Myth of Dreams being used in this reversed way this book is worth a read. And then there is his non-macho, tender way to write about his son and women. There is a whole new tone in this, something we normally like to label as female. The male voice needed someone to write about women and love this way. Perhaps it would be useful for Philipp Roth to take a close look.

So much for now. There is more to come, I´m afraid.