Christian Kracht was nominated for the 2021 Swiss Book Prize with “Eurotrash”. Now he has withdrawn his candidacy. What happened?
Christian Kracht is a coveted and colorful author with Swiss roots. His debut ‘Viberland’ is considered one of the foundational works of pop literature, and his novels have been translated into more than 30 languages.
But Kracht also regularly raises controversy: he is considered a provocateur, a “chameleon” (NZZ). Despite the aversion to the media, a tendency towards self-presentation can be noted.
pull with swipe
So far: Kracht has pulled his novel “Eurotrash” from the shortlist for the Swiss Book Prize. The sponsoring association announced this in a brief media statement on Tuesday.
Kracht justified his decision by the fact that he had already won the Swiss Book Prize in 2016, and after withdrawing, he “would like to give the other nominees a better chance of winning the prize”.
And he does not want to “provide further material for discussion about promoting my work, as is sometimes done in some Swiss media”. Kracht was among other things in 2020 Attacked by Zürcher Tages AnzeigerBecause he got funding from Pro Helvetia for his work in “Eurotrash”, even though he came from a wealthy family.
Sponsorship gesture or strategic account?
It’s hard to believe Kracht’s hyperbole gesture. Especially since the spotlight is now entirely on him, instead of the remaining four candidates he would like to give “better chances”.
Does he want to clear the way for Germany’s most famous book prize, of which he is also on its shortlist, which was announced by chance shortly after he withdrew from the Swiss Book Prize?
In any case, Kracht is sure to grab attention and headlines, whether for strategic accounts or eccentric staging.
Between posture and dexterity
Christian Kracht is considered a master of the approximate and the paradoxical. In an interview with Die Welt, he said of “Fiber Land” that the narrative situation was “very insecure”.
A man visits his seriously ill mother in Zurich. Their relationship is burdened with shock and mystery. So the first-person narrator begins a journey through Switzerland and into childhood in order to heal old wounds – through remembering and telling.
As in ‘Viberland’, the man sets out to find what he is. It is even the first-person narrator, as it says at the beginning: “I must say that a quarter of a century ago I wrote a story, which for some reason no longer speaks to me now, called“ Viberland ”.» What is right and what is not?
This play of fact and fiction is what characterizes Kracht’s literature, as literary scholar Philip Thesson wrote. It is “a wonderful experience within the limits of being and appearance”.
The motives behind Kracht’s withdrawal can only be assessed with certainty: neither Christian Kracht nor the Kiepenheuer & Witsch publishing staff responsible for Kracht could be reached for comment.
The action combines the portrait of the author between dazzling poses and literary prowess and leaves a pleasant aftertaste. Even with the jury surprised: Speculation isn’t his job, but an earlier announcement would certainly be fairer, says jury member Daniel Graf in an interview. Subsequent nominations are excluded.
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