burst on the German-speaking scene in the early
1970s with three fiercely experimental novels,
among them our present DER WILLE ZUR KRANKHEIT
(1973). It is here that Roth developed his “objective” prose,
his aggregates of minute observations and impressions.
The subjective narrator perceives, notes, thinks.
Representation eludes his perspective. The
effect is surreal with an undertone of Angst: “i
am preparing a slow disintegration of the external
world inside my head.”
was part of the literary group known as “Forum
renamed Graz Writers’ Collective) where
Peter Handke and Elfriede Jelinek also first
made their mark. He has continued to explore
the Austrian psyche and especially the fragile
nature of “reality” and the political
aspects of what society puts forward as such
and what it glosses over. The genres he works
in range from children’s books to screenplays,
and, most impressively though also more traditionally,
to the seven volumes of Die
Archive des Schweigens.
This “Archive of Silence,” which
comprises a photographic anthology, a collection
of essays, a biography and four novels,
is widely considered Roth’s masterpiece.
Over the course
of his career he has been honored with (among
others) the Alfred Döblin, Marie Luise
Kaschnitz, Peter Rosegger, and Bruno Kreisky
graduated from Brown University in 2004. He
lives in rural Vermont, and travels often.
This translation is his first publication.