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Self-Portrait with Russian Piano


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About the Author

Wolf Wondratschek, born 1943 in Rudolfstadt, studied literature and philosophy in Heidelberg, Goettingen, and Frankfurt. His first book, When the Day Still Started with a Bullet Wound, is legendary in the German-language world, initiating a one-man Beat Generation, and ensuring that he became one of Germany's most successful contemporary writers. His vast body of work comprises novels, collections of poems, short stories, essays, reportage, and radio plays. He lives in Vienna.


[Self-Portrait with Russian Piano] is at once egoless, sly, profound, funny, authentic and utterly mysterious--without ever seeming to break a sweat . . . An immense humility encompasses the novel. In a world that shouts, this book is a song played softly, and slowly.
--Ethan Hawke, The New York Times Book Review "A tender character study of a wry and jaundiced former piano virtuoso . . . [Wondratschek] writes about music with intimacy and tenderness, and peppers his narrative with delightful anecdotes of the foibles of high-art celebrities. [His] deeply felt meditation on the joys and sorrows of a life in music delivers the goods."
--Publishers Weekly Wondratschek's layered narrative reflects on language, art, politics, and history, and though nothing much happens in it, there is plenty to think about . . . Readers with a bent for Thomas Mann and Elias Canetti will find this book a pleasure. --Kirkus In Self-Portrait with Russian Piano, Wolf Wondratschek renders the experience of being in the world during the last seventy years as a prose sonata of beguiling intricacies and beatitudes, a strong sense of wreckage paired with the sublime consolations of music, art, sex, and intelligence. An autumnal and--in the sense of the long view--droll story told in scratches and claw marks, that speaks of today as if it were posthumous.
--Gary Indiana, author of Horse Crazy and I Can Give You Anything But Love Praise for Wolf Wondratschek

Wondratschek is eccentric, monomaniacal, romantic--his texts are imbued with a wonderful, reckless nonchalance. A romantic in a madhouse. To let Wondratschek's voice be drowned in the babble of today's literature would be a colossal mistake.
--Patrick Suskind, author of Perfume

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