In the Middle of the Road
Michael Köhlmeier's short stories often begin with a simple sentence, and yet the reader is immediately drawn into the thick of the story: "I had made a mistake – a serious mistake." These stories don't pretend to deal with mankind's big issues, or the last things. Instead, Köhlmeier is far more interested in what happens on the sidelines, in between the big issues. Auf Bu¨cher schießen und andere Kleinigkeiten (Shooting at Books and Other Small Matters) tells the story of a dream; Mut am Nachmittag (Courage in the Afternoon) is about a man who is sad; and Der letzte Tag im August (The Last Day of August) recounts a bird rescue, and, in passing, also incorporates the death of a princess. Ein freier Nachmittag, Unterhaltungen in der Küche (An Afternoon Off, Chats in the Kitchen) – these everyday comings-and- goings are what Michael Köhlmeier writes about, and he does so with such exceptional skill that at some point the reader starts wondering if perhaps this really is what life is all about after all. Köhlmeier's impressive recent novel Abendland was greatly acclaimed by critics and readers alike. This volume, which also features six new short stories, proves that Michael Köhlmeier is – and always was – one thing above all: the master of the short story.