Home » Book launch today: Leander Fischer’s “Die Doppelgänger”

Book launch today: Leander Fischer’s “Die Doppelgänger”

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Book launch today: Leander Fischer’s “Die Doppelgänger”

In his 780-page debut novel “Die Forelle”, he focused on fly fishing and thus won the Deutschlandfunk Prize in the 2019 reading competition in Klagenfurt and in 2020 the debut prize as part of the Austrian Book Prize. Tonight Leander Fischer, who was born in Upper Austria, presents his second album in the Alte Schmiede in Vienna. With 500 pages, “Die Doppelganger” is around a third narrower, but just as powerful as its predecessor.

What is at stake this time is much less clear than it was then, when Fischer was able to delve into the art of tying a lure called a goldhead nymph for dozens of pages. This time, too, he remains calm when he has found an object or a process that is worth describing in detail. But then he suddenly changes the subject – and the reader feels left alone and has to reorient himself without any help.

For example, if you were just confronted with a short essay about matches and candles, there are already economic-historical comments about the decline of the Mühlviertler flax production in view of the triumph of cotton “over the world-spanning trade routes, until all over the world barracks shelves, shop drawers and opera cloakrooms in those days were stuffed full of it dumping export hit from overseas like the bellies of the ships also echoing with the chanting of rigging, the thunder of tacking sails and the crack of whips”. This is what it sounds like when an author abandons himself entirely to the rhythm and the melody of the language.

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Fischer refuses the simple narration, but he knows how to use language apart from storytelling as an artful instrument to the “reverse translation process in the brain” in view of the “collision of light waves and solid objects with the pupil, the bundling and projection through the lens and vitreous body on the rear retina” in such a way that “the upside-down world” acquires a polished beauty, even if it is not only characterized by the logical and meaningful, but can also be called something like: “cosmic nonsense, universal madness, nonsense, madness , humbug, frippery”.

A quartet of protagonists at least offers clues as to where the language trip is going, the individual stages of which play mainly in Vienna, but also in Berlin and Hildesheim and provide leaps in terms of time and subject matter. But the twins Viktor and Niklas Adler, Vik and Nik, are of course no guarantee of certainty, because they are confusingly similar to each other. Fischer resists the temptation to use this constellation for a picaresque novel or a prank of mistaken identity, preferring instead to place two energetic young women at their side: Marlene and Elena, an author and a visual artist at the beginning of their career, do not make the reading any clearer.

Sometimes the first day as a waitress in a coffee house turns into a scandal, sometimes Fritz von Herzmanovsky-Orlando seems to be a regular customer, sometimes dragons are drawn with the utmost meticulousness. Snowball fights and art performances, the church and the mafia, the Prater and Steinhof – everything is mixed up. Sometimes, however, Leander Fischer brings everything to a standstill. Then he focuses on a tick in the bedroom, for example. And delivers a scene that you have certainly never read before.

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(SERVICE – Leander Fischer: “Die Doppelgänger”, Wallstein Verlag, 496 pages, 28.80 euros, book presentation: today, Monday, March 27, 7 p.m., Alte Schmiede, Schönlaterngasse 9, 1010 Vienna. Reading: March 29, 8 p.m., Panoramabar of the city: Library Salzburg, Schumacherstraße 14)

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