Legend has it that the hairdresser, the main protagonist of this book, is part Arabian foundling and part Viennese. Many years ago he went ashore in Trieste and learned the art of hair-cutting. In Venice he wanted to become a wig-maker. Later, on his way to Vienna, "he married en route and without any hesitation an Austrian woman and set up, with the money from a postponed honeymoon as an advance, a hairdresser's salon in Griechengasse." Those entering the salon enter a realm of magic where the real world loses its terror. The hairdresser welcomes not only the peculiar characters who come only for a coffee but also people actually in need of a haircut. The most prominent visitor is undoubtedly Mozart, who "weary of his posthumous fame", opts for a classic crew cut. And the story of his wig runs like a red thread through the strange conversations filling the salon from morning till night.
Wolf Wondratschek, whose book of short stories, Die große Beleidigung, received much well-deserved praise last year, portrays the many-mirrored salon as a place of transformation: no-one leaves it unchanged.
"With his victory of art over gravity, Wolf Wondratschek is due for rediscovery." (Süddeutsche Zeitung)
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