Saša Stanišić


De Duitstalige schrijver Saša Stanišić (°1978) vluchtte op 14-jarige leeftijd met zijn familie weg van de Bosnische burgeroorlog naar Zuid-Duitsland, waar hij sindsdien woont en Duits-Slavistiek studeerde. Hij schrijft poëzie, essays en kortverhalen in zijn tweede taal, het Duits. Vanaf 2001 wordt zijn werk gepubliceerd in diverse anthologieën en literaire magazines zoals Krachkultur en Edit. In het jaar 2006/2007 was hij stadsauteur van de Oostenrijkse stad Graz. Dat jaar verscheen ook zijn debuutroman Wie der Soldat das Grammofon repariert. In dit semi-autobiografisch verhaal, gesitueerd tijdens de Balkanoorlog, portretteert Stanisic de kleine Bosnische Aleksandar Krsmanovic, die met zijn ouders naar Duitsland vluchtte. De 14-jarige jongen vertelt met behulp van flashbacks over het leven en de mensen van zijn thuisland. Over het nieuwe land waar hij verblijft, vertelt hij fantasievolle en dromerige verhalen. Stanisic' debuutroman werd vertaald in meer dan 25 talen. Hoewel zijn moedertaal niet het Duits is, werd hij een finalist voor de Deutsche Buchpreis en werd zijn roman als luisterboek genomineerd voor de Deutsche Hörbuchpreis. Verder won zijn roman nog tal van andere prijzen zoals onder andere de Literaturförderpreis in 2007. In 2008 werd Wie der Soldat das Grammofon repariert opgevoerd door het theater van Graz. Stanisic schrijft ook theaterstukken, satires, radioshows, columns en een literaire blog.

In 2011 verbleef Saša Stanišić een maand in residentie in Villa Hellebosch waar hij aan zijn tweede roman werkte. Hij nam ook deel aan het Passa Porta Festival 2011 dat samenviel met zijn residentie.



Here are a few things, which happened.

- I saw an U.F.O.
It was beginning of April, a beautiful warm night, and I was sitting on the porch in front of the villa eating my midnight cinnamon cereal and drinking my midnight beer, when the sky turned golden and from the gold - a wild U.F.O. appeared. It was all exhausted and shiny and smelled like subway tunnels of New York. Aesthetically it resembled the coal oven we had back in Yugoslavia in the 80's, only it was bigger and with laser weaponry or maybe plasma, I always get confused which is which.
Anyway. So, there was this huge extraterrestrial oven hovering above the Hellebosch meadows, and from the inside a pounding beat pounded through the splendour of my nightly relaxation - a whimsy mixture between Depeche Mode's early hits, fucking synthesizers ruined all music, and a freight train taking a sharp break, you know that eerie and absurdly loud squeal of billions rodents dying?
Yes, and in the next second - I had just shoved a spoon of cereal into my mouth - aliens surrounded me. I felt like Leningrad during WW II. The aliens looked like dung beetles, just more gigantic; their tiny legs were perpetually moving, little antennas like hooks in the air. Also, they were humming the melody of Enjoy the Silence. All of that was really awkward for me because I hate when people or for that matter aliens watch when I eat.
"Oh, hi!" I said. It probably sounded more like "Hmnai" because of the spoon in my mouth.

- I woke up on the back of a donkey riding through the woods towards east
It was mid April, a beautiful warm night, and I was sitting on the porch in front of the villa reading a line of Sartre followed by a line of Asterix followed by a line of Sartre and so on, a thing that I do when I feel overly enthusiastic with everything including my sexual life.
Suddenly a wild sleep overcame me. My eyes shut and I started to R.E.M in a very manly manner: I was standing on the table, one foot in a bucket full of champagne, the other on Hemingway's collected works.
Anyway. So, there was this huge almost extraterrestrial sleep ravaging inside of my head, and I swear to god, I dreamt seven dreams at the same time! I means, seriously! In each one I was a different Belgian beer. And, damn! Did I taste good! Seven blonde women wearing oversized football jerseys were simultaneously sipping me. It was a dream come true in a dream. When first of them finished me (as Oud Bruin) I violently woke up in the depths of Vollezele's extremely scary woods riding a donkey with my hands tied behind my back.

- I wanted to write a novel but I wrote only beginnings
It was end of April, a beautiful warm night, and I was sitting on the porch in front of the villa taking a sunbath. Fun fact: The porch of Villa Hellebosch is the only place in the universe where you can enjoy the sun whenever you feel like.
Suddenly I wildly started writing a novel, and then I started writing another one, and then another one. I was completely out of control! I spent hours beginning novels, I even acquired heavy sunburn.
All the novels dealt with the word Hellebosch in one way or the other. I had no idea why, but it felt like rock'n'roll a bit. Eleven mosquitoes sucked my blood that night, but not a single bite itched.
Here are three beginnings out of seventy-five, which I had written that sunny night on the magical porch while eating cereal and drinking beer:

1) "Mr. Hellebosch stepped out of his house into his garden, the way he did every morning in the last three years, but this time the garden seemed different: The tomatoes had gained in redness and size, the apple tree had grown taller and looked overall applier, and there was a snake sitting on a water melon. Without further ado, Mr. Hellebosch put the snake in his pyjama pocket and whispered to himself:
"Now, now... Now, now..."

2) "I don't recall whose idea it was. I think it was Jefferson's. Rupert seems a better candidate though, since Rupert's creative energies mostly related to disappearance or devastation of things. But the boys too can't remember whose idea it was, and it bothers the hell out of me. Although we have much more important things to worry about.
We're on the run from secret services of eleven countries, we're broke and hungry, and Rupert smells really bad. It is April 29th 2011. We have found temporary shelter in a house called Hellebosch, somewhere in remote European ruralness. I am sitting on its porch overlooking the countryside and trying to remember the day we had sworn to blow up Iceland and sink that useless bitch once and for all."

3) "Every Thursday we get completely wasted with the local pigeon breeders, and at some point we start hitting each other viciously, the girls always taking the fiercest beatings though they got better with time. It was like Fight Club, only it really did hurt.
One of us, professor Hellebosch, had a strange genetic defect. He could smell only blue cheese. Not a single other scent on the whole planet, only blue cheese. My god. But on this Thursday professor Hellebosch walked into the pigeon breeders' bar crying. We all knew - something exceptionally good-looking had happened.

Villa Hellebosch
28.03.11 > 25.04.11
Villa Hellebosch
26.03.12 > 23.04.12

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