The Book of the South
A portrait of turbulent times, a book brimming with wonderful tales and a cast of bizarre characters; a paean to a world long gone. André Heller has written a brilliant novel
Born in Vienna shortly after the Second World War, Julian Passauer is an assiduous good-for-nothing. The son of the Natural History Museum’s deputy director, Julian grows up on the attic floor of Schönbrunn Palace — in the company of Hugo Carter, tea-merchant and »in-house lecher«, eternally philosophising Grabowiak (the »King of Warts«) and Earl Eltz, former Olympic class swimmer and sparkling raconteur.
Julian inherits his father’s lifetime yearning for the South. He circumnavigates Africa on a long sea voyage, then begins studying only to drop out and become a professional poker player. In the Villa Piazzoli on Lake Garda he meets the women of his life and seems to finally find peace of mind — yet still he is drawn on, ever southwards …
»Chapeau to the man who extricates himself — and us — from the swamps and traps of the world on the reins of his ingenious imagination.« Elke Heidenreich