Almost a Nomad
All he wants is to be an artist, and he won't settle for anything less. So, on his 14th birthday, he escapes from the convent school he detests, hitches a lift to Vienna, and applies to join the Academy of Fine Arts. The style in which Hans-Georg Behr tells this phantasmagorical tale, based upon his own extraordinary life, is straight-talking and absorbingly immediate, but also subtly cryptic. The action commences where his highly acclaimed Fast eine Kindheit (2002) left off, as the 1950s are just beginning. The young man – who until recently had been regarded as little more than a stuttering fool – amazes everyone, not least himself, by not being sent packing with his tail between his legs, but instead being assigned a small room by none other than the principal of the Academy himself. The curtain comes down when the stately home belonging to his wonderfully regal grandfather – the personification of the old Austro-Hungarian Empire – goes up in flames. In between, we are told of an entirely unsentimental journey to visit Hermann Hesse in the canton of Ticino, an apprenticeship under Bertold Brecht at the Berliner Ensemble, of conspiratorial cabals at Vienna's legendary Café Hawelka, a year-long journey through the Orient, and the dawning of the era of sex, drugs, and rock 'n' roll. He starts his career as a journalist in London, during which years he is on first name terms with John, Paul, George and Ringo as well as the Rolling Stones and many other major celebreties.
"An autobiography free of self-pity or score-settling" (Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung)