Innsbruck – The re was already a Jakob in the story “One”, which Norbert Gstrein made famous almost overnight in 1988 as the new voice in the field of so-called “anti-homeland literature”. Gstrein has now devised a second Jacob for his new novel. “ The second Jacob” will be published next Monday.
Last but not least, the second shares his origins with the first Jacob. Both were born into a remote Alpine tourism company. Parallels between Jakob Zwei and his author – Nobert Gstrein was born in Ötztal – can also be made out. Both are heading towards their 60th birthday. In the case of Norbert Gstrein, it is June 3, 2021. In truth, this Jakob Thurner is even a Gstrein. With a pragmatic view of an international acting career, he initially renamed himself “Gestirn” – “Too much of a good thing” – and finally to Thurner.
But with truths, Gstrein readers have also known that since “One”, it is such a thing. The y are in the eyes of those who tell; In other words, with those who put together what they have gathered together in a meaningful or at least plausible way.
Norbert Gstrein also talks about this in “ The Second Jacob”: about – if you will – mistrust of what is told, which ultimately only confirms what you thought you already knew beforehand.
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Jakob Thurner, for example, who has achieved some prominence as a performer of women murderers overseas and has also been successful as a villain on major German stages, suspects that the commissioner who is supposed to put his biography together is looking for evidence that these roles draw conclusions about this Allow actor’s life. Thurner defends itself against so many clichés. And still confirms it: At a rehearsal – at the Tyrolean State The ater of all places – he beats up the biographer. Although in his manuscript he scratches surfaces at best. The biographer knows nothing about the proverbial corpse in the actor’s basement. Thurner confesses only to his daughter Luzie about the fatal accident for which he was once jointly responsible. And he also leaves out a lot towards her. The not exactly easy relationship between Jakob and Luzie threatens to break with the confession. In short: things are complicated. And “ The Second Jacob” is a consistently complicated book. That is precisely what makes it appealing – and informative.
Jakob Thurner tries hard as a first-person narrator of his story, a story that – as it is said at one point – “can perhaps replace a biography”, to give account. Or to put it another way: He tries to justify himself – but is always entangled in contradictions. His story, his version of his story, threatens to slip away. He may have acted with good intent, including in the fatal accident on the Mexican-US border, but he evades the consequences of his actions. In general, Thurner’s self-perception can hardly be reconciled with what he does. He etches over the overly sensitive Stanislavski shamanism of some colleagues – and wrestles with his own sensitivity in front of the camera. He scolds the inhabitants of his high alpine homeland as “fascists” – and, once asked, only offers a contrite “It wasn’t meant that” as an explanation. He despises a filthy millionaire for adorning himself with decorative starlets – and lets himself be invited by the same millionaire on a pleasure trip through the Mexican border town of Juárez, which Roberto Bolaño in “2666” staged quite authentically as hell on earth.
Jakob Thurner wants to explain himself, to explain to himself and to those who should read his transcript, in which he writes down what he never wanted to tell anyone, who he is. Norbert Gstrein demonstrates that (auto) biographical clarity is an illusion. In his linguistically finely crafted novel, with foreground and background allusions, to William Faulkner for example, he mercilessly comes close to his second Jakob. So close that everything extraordinary that Jacob claims for himself and his story is lost. That is exactly what makes “ The Second Jacob” an extraordinary novel. (pretty)
Roman Norbert Gstrein: The second Jacob. Hanser, 445 S., 25,70 Euro.
Natasha Kumar has been a reporter on the news desk since 2018. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining The Times Hub, Natasha Kumar worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my firstname.lastname@example.org 1-800-268-7116