Peter Truschner was born in Klagenfurt in 1967 and grew up in Kärnten, Austria, in Maria Saal, the village already immortalised in literature by Thomas Bernhard and Peter Turrini. He studied Communications, Philosophy and Politics at Salzburg University and from 1990 onwards his work was published in various cultural and literary magazines as a critic and author. In 1997 his play ‘Plexiglaswelten’ was premiered in the TOI House Theatre in Salzburg, and in 1999 he was awarded the Austrian state grant for literature, and in 2004 a grant of the Villa Concordia in Bamberg, Germany. In addition to the narratives of Robert Musil, Truschner names in particular works of non-Austrian writers such as Harold Brodkey, Sylvia Plath and Vladimir Nabokov as “crucial readings” for his highly praised novel ‘Schlangenkind’ (2001; Engl: Snake Child). For this novel, Truschner received the prize for literary debuts of the Austrian Chancellery (2001) as well as the yearly scholarship of the Austrian ‘Literatur-Mechana’. “One day life fell upon my grandfather like a drop of resin onto a fly. Whoever knew him swore that he moved in the resin as if nothing had happened.” Thus the brilliant start to one of the most highly regarded debut novels of 2001; ‘Schlangenkind’ is a story which reconstructs, in poetic sobriety, memories of the good and evil spirits of a childhood in the country and a youth in the city: a coming of age tale. The chronicle starts in the village of Poppichl in Kärnten in the 1970’s: the boy, born illegitimately, grows up on the dilapidated farm of his grandparents, under the roof of a lethargic and authoritarian grandfather yet enclosed by the warmth of his grandmother. With great precision, the first person narrator immerses himself in the sensory details of his childhood and here perceives his grandfather as an object, as a man who has “given up conscious life”. When the mother of the boy, who had run away many years before, returns and takes her child with her to the city, the false tranquillity of the coarse upbringing crumbles, and with it the life compromise of the grandmother. Robbed of the youth which surrounded her, she remains in paralised solitude. The son lives with his mother in Salzburg, but the closeness of the previously absent mother awakens rivalry and the need for boundaries rather than the happiness anticipated. “Truschner tells of the pitiful, hopeless contacts of his human figures, of the joylessness of their relationships – but with special preciseness of the rare feelings of happiness which are actually only aroused through tender contact”, commented the dramaturg Hermann Beil on ‘Schlangenkind’, in which Peter Turrini also recognised the village of his youth: “Here is someone who lends his distinctive poetry to realism.” Truschner’s novel “Die Träumer” (2007; t: The dreamers) tells of the failed marriage of Iris and Robert. While Iris is extremely successful with her delicatessen catering service, Robert starts leading a double life – unnoticed by Iris who only after his unexpected death begins questioning their life. Peter Truschner’s works have meanwhile been translated into several languages. He lives in Berlin.
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