Thursday, December 30, 2004

Wladimir Kaminer è un poliedrico russo che scrive libri di successo a Berlino, dove è arrivato all'inizio degli anni '90. Ieri era citato su Metafilter, con i link a un'intervista sul NYT e ad altra sua roba su Words without borders (un progetto internazionale di letteratura aperta).
I would say there are two major groups of young German writers. Closest to me are my colleagues--slam writers, people who write short stories, what we call "rock 'n' roll" literature, that is, literature with "drive," that communicates directly with the reading public, a kind of new urban realism. There was a record released several years ago called "Asphalt Poets." Kind of a silly name, but it gives you the idea--close to the ground, forthright, a rock 'n' roll reality. This is becoming more and more popular. And it isn't confined to the short form. Now there are rock 'n' roll novels, too. The idea is to try to remain open-ended, spontaneous, free to experiment, without getting locked into some kind of form. Because form, by definition, is contrivance, theatre, phoniness. There are no novels in life. Each novel in life has its own prehistory, and an endless posthistory, too.

Then there is "dandy" literature--"pop" literature, written by young, disappointed intellectuals from very rich families. They like to write about sad things.


Qui incollo alcuni pezzi sparsi di testo, anche perchè non ho extended entry su blogspot e in NYT ha in programma di non mantenere più archivi. I riferimenti laterali sono moltissimi, ma non ho tempo e voglia di ammassare altri link (sul polka-punk dei polacchi americani e altra roba che non pensò leggerò nè ascolterò mai).

"Wladimir Kaminer is definitely the most famous Russian in Germany," said Boris Feldman, 47, the editor of the weekly Russian-language newspaper Russkij Berlin, who came to Berlin from Riga, Latvia in 1990.

In an interview at a restaurant near Kaffee Burger, Mr. Kaminer, who speaks German well with a pronounced Russian accent, pointed out that the Soviet cultural tradition in which he was raised no longer exists. "I grew up in a culture that is dead," he said, "but I found a new cultural home in Germany."

The Russo-German sensibility Mr. Kaminer has come to represent is something Berliners have probably not experienced since before World War II, when Berlin was a center for a Russian émigré culture.

"I talked about the many similarities of writers and cosmonauts in the Soviet Union and was convinced I'd prepared a scientific lecture," he recalls. "But the audience was laughing nonstop." Afterward, an editor approached him to write for his newspaper, die tageszeitung, a national daily newspaper.

Yet many of Mr. Kaminer's fans seem to cherish his work because they see it as a revival of a uniquely Jewish culture in Berlin thought to have been extinguished by the Nazis.

His career does carry echoes of the cabaret scene of Berlin in the 1920's, when some 300,000 Russians who had fled because of the October Revolution settled here, and more than 172,000 Jews lived in the German capital. Many of them were successful writers and musicians who had worked in the entertainment business until Hitler came to power.

The novel Mr. Kaminer is now working on deals with how music helps people, including the Jews, survive oppression. "The more a people gets oppressed, the more they sing," he said, finally talking about the Jewish culture and identity.

"My new book will be called 'Kaminer Karaoke' and it shows how music helped me survive in the Soviet Union and how it gave strength to oppressed people throughout history," he said. "They all sang - the black people of America, the Gypsies of Europe and the Jews."

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