22. ilb 07. - 17.09.2022

Aris Fioretos

Portrait Aris Fioretos
© Hartwig Klappert


Aris Fioretos was born in 1960 in Göteborg, Sweden, to Greek and Austrian parents. He studied comparative literature at the University of Stockholm, the École des Hautes Études in Paris and Yale University. He has published essays and scholarly works on Hölderlin, Benjamin, and Celan, and translated a number of writers, including Paul Auster, Friedrich Hölderlin and Vladimir Nabokov, into Swedish. In 1997, he was writer-in-residence at the artists’ programme of the German Academic Exchange Service in Berlin and in 2001, a Berlin Prize Fellow at the American Academy in Berlin. He has received numerous prizes, including the Swedish Academy’s Karl Ragnar Gierow Prize (1994).

Since his début, »Delandets bok« (1991; t: Sharing book), Fioretos has published several collections of short prose. A volume of selected works »Das Maß eines Fußes« (2008; t: The measure of a foot) has recently been published in German, containing elegant and provocative texts that blur the line between fiction and essay. His first novel »Stockholm Noir« was published in 2000 and received several prizes. The German translation, which was published in the same year under the title »Die Seelensucherin« (t: The soul searcher), met with enthusiastic critical acclaim.

Fioretos not only brilliantly links various narrative levels, but also makes connections between fictive destinies and the actual history of science. The reader accompanies a young Berliner along tortuous routes on a three-day search for her father to Stockholm in the winter of 1925, gradually learning how her destiny is mixed up with that of a self-styled Swedish »soul biologist«, who is convinced that he can establish the exact position of the soul in the human brain. Fioretos captures the 1920s atmosphere in an evocative way. At the end, every detail, with its elaborate implications, proves itself indispensible to the novel as a whole. His second novel, entitled »Sanningen om Sasha Knisch« (Eng. »The Truth about Sasha Knisch«, 2006), also takes Berlin of the 1920s as its point of departure, using historical facts to weave together various types of narrative. What starts out as a love story about two people turns, with the death of one of them, into a thriller in which the saving truth is concealed within what did not happen. Against the backdrop of a scientific conspiracy, Fioretos describes the at once illicit and seductive nature of sexuality, offering a declaration of love to the powers of imagination that is both astute and comical. Reviewing »Stockholm Noir«, critic Hubert Winkels found that Fioretos achieved the highest aim of literature, namely »to generate insight using poetry as a means«. The author has been cultural attaché at the Swedish Embassy in Berlin. He currently lives and works in Berlin and Stockholm.