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Zentrifuge (Centrifuge)
September 2004
100 pages
15 EUR
Hardcover, from the Rumanian by Eva Wemme
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Centrifugal force seems to have an effect in Die Spirale (The Spiral). That which belongs together is dissolved, divided and assembled anew. Virtuous experiments with traditional forms and connections on encyclopedic, syntactic and semantic levels create surrealist distortions of reality and fantastic sceneries filled with humor and irony. In the first part, an imagined camera shows zoom-like excerpts of domestic everyday life - the personal life of the first-person narrator - that remain foreign and broken through various means. A single, title-less chapter shows the narrator’s daily routine in an acrimonious sequence.

“In the morning when I woke up I yawned, scratched my chest in a manly way, (...), and went into the bathroom, there I went peepee, then I set the warm water for a shower. I soaped myself up, and sang, to the best of my knowledge, an opera aria, then I got out of the shower and dried myself with a hard towel, then I got dressed as follows: clean underwear, dark-grey socks, just like the pants, on top a light-grey pullover, directly on the skin, shoes and belt in black.” (from The Spiral)

The entire remaining text contrasts with this. In the absurd narration Die Locke (The Curl), the topics of love, eroticism, breaking up and death entwine around the character of the barber Papa Gogu. Here, societal and political realities are worked through in an encoded form.

“Papa Gogu is the world’s fastest barber. He holds the world speed record in the contour cut and is a three-time Olympic champion in the neck message. But his specialty is beard-cutting. He shaves every beard with a single energetic movement - a grand curved parentheses - like only the major artists can do when they draw a portrait. It’s something like his signature, which he has very visibly framed in graphic translation.” (from: The Curl)

It is a literary work filled with humor, bitter irony and distance, a permanently furious game with language, levels of style, types of text and genres in a well-executed translation from the Romanian by Eva Wemme.

T.O. Bobe, born in 1969 in Constanta, Romania, studied Romanian literature and medieval philology at the University of Bucharest. He worked in an automotive warehouse, as a theater dramaturg, an editor, a writer for television series and as a copywriter. He has written poetry, prose, film screenplays and a children’s book. The Spiral and The Curl, united in this volume for the first time, received Tomis Magazine’s debut prize and the Mihai-Eminescu National Prize for debut poetry. The Centrifuge is the author’s first German-language publication.He was a fellow at Solitude in 2003/2004.