Two Couples, no Sex, in the spooky Woods
ZWEI PAARE OHNE SEX IM WALDVIERTEL
GENRE Short Stories, LANGUAGE German
“A book that draws you in. Four stories of love and death, each one more powerful than the one before.”
ANDRES MÜRY was born in Basel in 1948 and read Sociology and Theatre Studies at university. For many years he worked in the theatre as an artistic director; he was also an arts journalist, theatre critic and translator. He has published two collections of essays: Minetti isst Eisbein. Lob der Hinterbühne (1992) and Jedermann darf nicht sterben. Geschichte eines Salzburger Kults (2001). Two Couples, No Sex, in the Spooky Woods is his first book of short stories. Andres Müry lives in Austria.
PHOTO © Michael Utz
The characters in Andres Müry’s four stories are in no way classic heroes: a fashion photographer, a TV executive, a lifestyle reporter and a diplomat. They may seem glamorous, but are in fact four men of a certain age, gradually realising that life as they once knew it is slipping away from them. Things they should have dealt with years ago reappear unexpectedly. The past is no longer the past: at most, it’s just been suppressed.
Chance encounters transport Volker back to his mis-spent youth and make Harry’s visit to a brothel a most unpleasant experience. The tragic death of one of Felix’s female readers and Max’s belated discovery that he’s a father chip away at the egos of these aging narcissists. What they’ve learnt from life no longer serves them well: the world has changed. Müry records this realisation with dry humour, switching back and forth between comedy and tragedy.
As Anton Thuswaldner says of Müry in the Salzburger Nachrichten, “he has a light and sure touch; he elegantly introduces us to people, who have cut themselves off by suppressing their past, who live a carefree existence and are then brought sharply down to earth when the past catches up with them and they realise how contemptible they are.”
TITLE Zwei Paare ohne Sex im Waldviertel
PUBLISHER weissbooks, Frankfurt a. M.
PUBLICATION DATE January 2016
TRANSLATION RIGHTS Rainer Weiss, firstname.lastname@example.org
ZWEI PAARE OHNE SEX IM WALDVIERTEL, ANDRES MÜRY
»Alles klar, Herr Kommissar?«
Der bärenhafte Securitymann bei der Kontrolle am Berliner Flughafen sprach absichtlich laut und grinste dabei breit. Dass ihm der Schauspieler, den er am Abend zuvor im Tatort gesehen hatte, in die Hände fiel, nahm er offenbar als Freibrief. Sichtlich genoss er es, den Prominenten vor dem mäßig interessierten Morgenpublikum in die Positur des Gekreuzigten zu zwingen und ihm dann mit seinen Pranken durch die Cordhose hindurch die Innenseiten der Oberschenkel bis hinauf in den Schritt abzutasten. Schließlich reichte es ihm nicht, die Stiefeletten am Fuß zu durchleuchten, Harry Freitag musste vor ihm auf die Knie und sie ausziehen. Er zitterte immer noch vor Ärger, als er seine Siebensachen vom Transportband wieder an sich nahm… Read more
TWO COUPLES, NO SEX, IN THE SPOOKY WOODS, ANDRES MÜRY
Excerpt translated by Stephen Morris
An old love
The bear of a security man at the Berlin airport deliberately raised his voice, grinning throughout. The actor he had seen last night in the nation’s favourite crime drama, Crime Scene, was here at his mercy. He took visible pleasure in forcing Harry Freitag into a crucifixion posture for a mildly interested audience, then pawing his way up the celebrity’s corduroy-clad inner legs to his crotch. Not satisfied simply to scan Freitag’s ankle boots with the feet inside, he forced him to kneel before him and remove them. Freitag was still quivering with rage as he retrieved his belongings from the conveyor belt… Read more
“Entertaining stories told with intelligence and drama. Even with the most delicate or potentially tawdry subjects, Müry maintains a balance between pathos and irony. There’s nothing ‘tacky’ here: he strikes an almost English-style ‘dry’ note.”