Confessions and dog ears – ckecked in with Domenico Müllensiefen

Portrait Domenico Müllensiefen
Domenico Müllensiefen [© Susanne Schleyer]

We introduce the authors of the 22nd ilb – with questions about writing, reading and unfinished reading. Here, Domenico Müllensiefen reveals which definitive masterpiece of German literature puts him to sleep.

Confession time: Which major classic have you started… but not finished?
Thomas Mann – »The Magic Mountain«. Perfect reading for falling asleep. One scene has stayed in my memory. In the sanatorium someone is dying, screaming as they do so, and the doctor says, »Don’t make such a fuss.« Fantastic.

The age-old question: hardback or paperback? And why?
If paperback, then the »Lustiges Taschenbuch« series. In 1999 and 2000, the motif on the back was brilliant. Donald Duck lights a rocket in 1999. And in December you think that’s it. But then in 2000 you get to see all the important protagonists in one big fireworks display. Tick, Trick and Track make up the zeros of 2000. Phenomenal! 24 months of great stories and having fun collecting. Otherwise, I like hardcovers.

If an unpublished book was to be discovered by an author, which author would you want that to be?
Fallada. In my opinion the most important storyteller of the first half of the last century.

The essential question: bookmarks or dog ears?
Bookmarks. But it’s ok for a book to be very well worn.

Which book is on your nightstand just now?
There is a lot. The foundation is »The Magic Mountain«, which has been there for a long time. Further up, but all of them not yet abandoned: »Disgrace« by Coetzee, »The Orchard Keeper« by McCarthy, »Lilly and Her Slave« by Fallada and right at the top, also being read at the moment: »Komplett Gänsehaut« by Sophie Passmann.

Which is your favorite book store in the whole world?
The »Wörtersee« in Leipzig, of course. And I like no less: The »Buchhandlung Südvorstadt«, Leipzig’s Hugendubel and generally all bookshops where people who love literature work. It can be a chain, it can be a small, owner-operated shop.

Who was your greatest discovery of the year so far? And why?
Annika Büsing. Her novel »Nordstadt« had a strong impact on me. Annika Büsing has found a tender and at the same time apt language for a love story without being kitschy. She has an incredible feel for characters, their wishes and fears. She manages to bring the characters to life. And then, if you are lucky enough to attend one of her readings, she reads her book really beautifully and soulfully. I’m looking forward to her next book.

If you were allowed to read only one book for the rest of your life, what would it be?
»Buddenbrooks« by Thomas Mann. The best book I have read so far.

Where do you prefer to write, and why?
Currently on the train. Because I can actually concentrate completely on my texts there. And because, at the moment, this is the only time when I get to write at all.

Do you read your own books after they’ve been published?
I only have one so far, but yes. Sometimes I sit in my living room and read my book. And then I’m amazed that I’ve written a book that I actually really like to read.

We look forward to welcoming Domenico Müllensiefen to the international literature festival berlin on September 17. In his debut »Aus unseren Feuern«, he tells the story of three friends from a working-class background who struggle to find a place in society during the difficult post-reunification period. Further information about the event can be found here.