The Swiss author will read from and discuss his outrageous, fantastical, uncategorizable novel of obsession, adventure, and coconuts.
Deutsches Haus at New York University will present a reading by the Swiss author Christian Kracht from his new novel Imperium: A Fiction of the South Seas (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, translated into English by Daniel Bowles) on Tuesday, July 21, at 6:30 p.m. The reading will be followed by a discussion of his work with Eric Jarosinski, the writer and editor of @NeinQuarterly.
Imperium (July, 2015) is an outrageous, fantastical, uncategorizable novel of obsession, adventure, and coconuts. Playing with the tropes of classic adventure tales likeTreasure Island and Robinson Crusoe, Kracht's novel, an international bestseller, is funny, bizarre, shocking, and poignant – sometimes all on the same page. His allusions are misleading, his historical time lines are twisted, his narrator is unreliable –and the result is a novel that is also a mirror cabinet and a maze pitted with trapdoors. Both a provocative satire and a serious meditation on the fragility and audacity of human activity, Imperium is impossible to categorize, and utterly unlike anything you've read before.
Christian Kracht was born in Saanen/Switzerland in 1966. He graduated from Sarah Lawrence College, New York, in 1989. In the 1990s Kracht worked as a journalist for a number of magazines and newspapers in Germany, including Der Spiegel. In November 2006 he was a regular columnist for the newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. Kracht has regularly collaborated with other authors and artists. Between September 2004 and June 2006 he published the independent literary magazine Der Freund in collaboration with Eckhart Nickel.
In his novels, the protagonists of Kracht’s fiction embark on journeys that take them in search of an elusive moment of immersive, utopian experience or spiritual enlightenment often located in a different nation or culture. Their journey usually, but not always, results in disappointment, failure or even death. The theme of travel was introduced in Kracht’s debut novel Faserland (1995), a text that is often central in the discussion of German pop literature by literary critics and scholars.
Eric Jarosinski is the self-declared failed intellectual behind @NeinQuarterly, a compendium of utopian negation that uses the aphoristic potential of Twitter to plumb the existential abyss of modern life — and finds it to be bottomless. His Twitter feed has over 100,000 followers. He holds a Ph.D. in German literature and culture from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He is a regular contributor to Germany's Die Zeit and also writes for the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. He and his work have been featured in many other German and international publications, including Der Spiegel, the Neue Zürcher Zeitung, the LA Times, the New Yorker, and the Wall Street Journal. His first book Nein. A Manifesto will be published this year by Fischer in Germany and Lebowski Books in the Netherlands.
Events at Deutsches Haus (42 Washington Mews, New York, N.Y.) are free of charge. If you would like to attend this event, please send us an email to email@example.com. Space at Deutsches Haus is limited, please arrive ten minutes prior to the event.
"Imperium": An Evening with Christian Kracht and Eric Jarosinski is made possible through the generous support of Pro Helvetia, German Book Office, and Farrar, Straus and Giroux.