23. ilb 06. – 16.09.2023
Portrait Alan Pauls
© Ali Ghandtschi

Alan Pauls

The Argentinian novelist, essayist, critic and scriptwriter Alan Pauls was born in Buenos Aires in 1959. He studied literature at the University of Buenos Aires, where he also later worked as a lecturer in literary theory. He founded the magazine »Lecturas críticas« and worked as an editor for the daily newspaper »Página/12«.
His first novel »El pudor del pornógrafo« (1984; tr: The Pornographer’s Shame) is a traditional epistolary novel in which letters are exchanged between the narrator, an advisor in erotic matters, and his lover. When a long-awaited reunion has to be repeatedly postponed, the written expressions of desire and passion by both characters grow more intense. Pauls achieved international recognition with his award-winning fourth novel »El pasado« (2003; Eng. »The Past«, 2007), which was adapted to film by Héctor Babenco. After twelve symbiotic years of absolute love, the translator Rimini leaves his wife Sofía and throws himself into amorous adventures as well as excessive work and drug abuse in 1980s Buenos Aires, yet he is unable to break free from Sofía’s obsessive love and their shared history. This novel, expertly constructed using different frames of time, illuminates the protagonists’ psychological abysses with great linguistic intensity. The complex syntax, the different registers, and the wealth of metaphors condense the novel into a multi-layered study in experience and forgetting, love and jealousy. Pauls’ trilogy about Argentina in the 1970s was published over the years 2007-2013. The first part, »Historia del llanto« (2007; tr: A History of Tears) opens his history of the Argentinian dictatorship. Against the backdrop of the ideological conflicts in the 1970s, the novel portrays the mental and spiritual development of the sensitive and educated son of a progressive middle-class family. At the center of the story are the confrontation between the young protagonist and his peers and the formative events of the era. The second part, »Historia del pelo« (2010; tr: A History of Hair) chronicles contemporary history through hairstyles. The third part, »Historia del dinero« (2013; tr: A History of Money), is a »an intimate family drama in which money plays the main role and is as dictatorial as military rule, which ultimately awards power to people arbitrarily, breaks them in torture chambers, or lets them disappear in excavation pits« (»DIE ZEIT«). Paul has also published six essay collections, most recently »Trance« (2018), an essay on reading.
Alan Pauls was awarded the Premio Herralde (2003). Roberto Bolaño described him as »one of the best Latin American writers alive today«. Pauls lives in Buenos Aires. In 2019, he is a guest of the DAAD Artists-in-Berlin Program.


El pudor del pornógrafo
Buenos Aires, 1984
Die Vergangenheit
Stuttgart, 2009
[Ü: Christian Hansen]
Geschichte der Tränen
Stuttgart, 2010
[Ü: Christian Hansen]
Geschichte der Haare
Stuttgart, 2012
[Ü: Christian Hansen]
Geschichte des Geldes
Stuttgart, 2016
[Ü: Christian Hansen]