23. ilb 06. – 16.09.2023

Christoph D. Brumme

Christoph D. Brumme was born in Wernigerode in 1962. He grew up in the Harz region and, after an apprenticeship as a railway worker, joined the army in order to dedicate himself to acting in the Eisleben theatre and to the study of philosophy. The novelist and essayist has worked as a freelance writer in Berlin since 1986. His latest book, an account of a cycling tour from Berlin to Saratov on the Volga, is to be published in March 2009.

Brumme’s first two novels are set in the GDR. In »Nichts als das« (1994; t: Nothing than that; reprinted with the title »No« in 2008), an authoritarian society is seen through the child No’s eyes. No is growing up in the border area on the Brocken, where he is confronted with the violence of the state as well as the violence of his meticulous father. Anyone who fails to conform is punished, and the net of mental dependencies is tied tightly, even when opposing the system: thus the father rejects the state, yet remains trapped in its ways of thinking. Sieglinde Geisel wrote in a review that »Brumme renders totalitarian structures with minimal means – and in this way the father-son conflict, in small format, reflects an intimate portrait of the GDR. Although he hates him, no other father, no other world is imaginable to No.«

Brumme’s second novel, »Tausend Tage« (1997; t: A thousand days), also focuses on the inner architecture of violence and the state’s power to regulate. The eighteen year-old Kian joins the National People’s Army in order to escape the gloom of his family. In »Süchtig nach Lügen« (2002; t: Addicted to lies) Brumme tells the story of an »amour fou« which starts apparently harmlessly, until it finally breaks down into violence and hatred. Hannah is eccentric and capricious, occasionally mischievous, yet one isn’t able to blame her for it. The first-person narrator attempts to understand her behaviour, and, in doing so, resorts to mental masochism because he is subjected to a strange love that is perhaps merely a lie and perhaps also an addiction. In 2004 the novel was produced as a radio play with Julia Jaeger and Jan-Joseph Liefers.

Brumme describes the disintegration of the subject and with it the disintegration of a moral point of reference. »Existence makes absolutely no sense when ideas, dreams and hopes do not exceed the immediate world. Then there is no hope, no desire, no intensity. Then only self-affliction until death remains.« His language mirrors this condition. It is minimalistic and reduced to the essentials. In the dialogues between Hannah and the first-person narrator, the small catastrophes of their love escalate into an »inferno« situation – yet at the same time, something flits about in the sentences that can transform seriousness into irony at any moment.

The author has received various grants. He lives in Berlin.

© international literature festival berlin


Nichts als das
Mathias Gatza
Berlin, 1994
Berlin, 2008

Tausend Tage
Kiepenheuer & Witsch
Berlin, 1997

Süchtig nach Lügen
Kiepenheuer & Witsch
Berlin, 2002