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Dominic Barta presents the second novel

Dominic Barta presents the second novel

Dominic Barta publishes his second novel © APA / TOBIAS STEINMAURER

Dominic Barta makes it clear that he is not an author and does not want to be one. Unusual for someone whose first novel “Vom Land” was a hit among critics and audiences two years ago, who is now showing his second novel. “If you asked me, I would say: I am a teacher,” the 39-year-old said in an interview with the APA. “It wasn’t my goal to make a living writing.” “Door to Door” will be released on Monday. The book is very different from its beginning – not just because it takes place in the city.

In “Fom Land” Upper Austria, who grew up in the countryside, vividly described the farmer’s refusal to continue working and spoke of emergencies and family problems in the village. In the film “Door to Door” he created a multi-tiered plot on the basis of an attic apartment near Naschmarkt, where he lived for half a year. In the network of people around newly recruited teacher Kurt, the private and the political are mixed.

It is not easy to follow individual threads of work and decorations, which is why the question arises: What is really going on? “It is about the life of a first-person narrator and the people around him and how their lives are intertwined and intertwined. It is about everyday things that, due to various coincidences, acquire a deep dimension that extends into world politics. It is about becoming neighbors, not living life alone. Others, whether you like it or not. A block of flats is a metaphor for the life we ​​live side by side.” At the same time, there is also a yearning for that feeling of “just like in the country,” which is reflected in the popularity of working neighborhoods.

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Barta, who has studied in Vienna, Bonn and Florence, currently lives in Troststrasse in Vienna-Favoriten and studies German as a foreign language at the Vienna University of Applied Sciences and History of Psychology at the University of Vienna. “I do it with the greatest passion and I would like to continue doing it this way for a long time. Writing as a profession, on the other hand, is an idea that I don’t like.” So what drives him to write books? “I am not a painter. I am not a dancer I am not a pianist. But I have a need for expression. I have always written. This is my form of expression. I am unhappy without writing.”

“Door to Door” is not only geographical but also located very precisely in time. The speech given by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Vienna plays a major role – it was in June 2014. The author linked this to the refugee movement in the summer of 2015. I think this event has historical significance. It was the time when it became clear that many wrong things were around us and that this would touch and haunt us; The time when the illusion that we are an island was destroyed. “He had already lived in Warsaw at the time and had gone on vacation to his home in Vienna in the summer with big eyes across the changing city. “I was out day and night and was looking at her with social interest.”

Literary works are not gaining increasing traction for Dominic Barta, although he enjoys readings. “It is always fun to hear someone read the book. There is an immediacy of an interesting unprofessional opinion.” What about the professional opinion? “It’s part of the job,” Barta says. He is highly respected by professional readers and actually admired the piles of books heaped in front of reviewers when he was an intern at the German weekly Die Zeit. He himself is a slow reader and loves reading theoretical texts as much as he loves fiction. However, he often prefers American, Italian and Spanish literature – preferably the latter in the original language.

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Is there a third book on the way? Dominic Barta advocates something concrete. Non-fiction books may appeal to him, but there are also ideas for “something narrative”: “You always want to write something. There’s always something!”

(Interview by Wolfgang Huber-Lang/APA)

Dominique Barta: “Door to Door”, Zsolnay Verlag, 208 pages, €23.70