Michael Stavarič came to Austria as a seven-year-old child from the then neighbouring Czechoslovakia. The Stavarič family’s original plan was to go to Canada, so just think – he might have been given to the English language, and not to the German … Not untypically for a person coming from a different language, he explores the language he writes in with deep interest. He picks up on what is surreal, absurd, often grotesque.
1. they have it good at the central dairy they can bathe in milk if they want to and there’s never really never any black smoke rising from the chimney there they are the opposite of the former SS laughing and packaging milk children drink it the same day and the viennese citizen stirs it appreciatively into his coffee
2. I would like to go to the Prater again on my fiftieth buy myself a blood-red ice-cream and have a ride on the ghost train flinch and giggle and think about childhood a bit: when one of the skeletons grabs you when the ghosts circle around your head howling with laughter when the devil flips up in front of you with a mad flick the trident in his right hand and in his left a severed arm or a leg yes those were the days
By Michael Stavarič
Translated by Sheridan Marshalli
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Michael Stavarič is a writer, translator and lecturer, living in Vienna. His accolades include the Austrian State Prize for Children’s and Youth Literature, the Adelbert von Chamisso Prize and Science Book of the Year. Latest publications: Das Phantom (Luchterhand, 2023); Die Suche nach dem Ende der Dunkelheit (Limbus, 2023); Faszination Qualle (Leykam Verlag, 2023).
Sheridan Marshall is the author of Forgetting to Remember: Religious Remembrance and the Literary Response to the Holocaust (Valentine Mitchell, 2014). She has worked for the New Books in German project since 2010, promoting the translation of German-language literature into English, and is Deputy Editor of The Austrian Riveter.