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Christian Kracht  [ Switzerland ]

Biography

Christian Kracht Portrait
© Ali Ghandtschi

Guest 2007.

Bibliography

Faserland
Kiepenheuer & Witsch
Köln, 1995

Ferien für immer
[mit Eckhart Nickel]
Kiepenheuer & Witsch
Köln, 1998

Tristesse Royale
Ullstein
München, 1999

Der gelbe Bleistift
Kiepenheuer & Witsch
Köln, 2000

1979
Kiepenheuer & Witsch
Köln, 2001

Mesopotamia [Hg.]
dtv
München, 2001

New wave
Kiepenheuer & Witsch
Köln, 2006

Die totale Erinnerung
[mit Eva Munz, Lukas Nikol]
Rogner & Bernhard
Berlin, 2006

Metan
[mit Ingo Niermann]
Rogner & Bernhard
Berlin, 2007

Christian Kracht was born in Gstaad, Switzerland in 1966. He spent his youth in Germany, the USA, Canada and southern France. After having worked for the newspaper »BZ« and the magazines »Tempo« and »Der Spiegel«, he became the India correspondent in New Delhi for »Der Spiegel« in the mid-nineties. He later lived in Bangkok and Nepal. The experiences he gathered during his travels in various Asian countries are described in travelogues written for the weekly »Welt am Sonntag«, and later appeared in the volume »Der gelbe Bleistift« (2001; t: The yellow pencil). After editing the journal »Der Freund« (2004-2006), which from its conception was limited to a few issues and distinguished itself from other German magazines in its refusal to include photos and advertisements as well as having its own idiosyncratic format, Kracht began to work as a columnist for the »Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung«.

Generally acclaimed as a fine stylist, Kracht provokes by way of irony and an ostentatious advocacy of lightness and the superficial. In the mid-nineties his novel »Faserland« (1995) earned him a name as a deft practitioner of pop literature. In this book, a first-person narrator observes the party and drug scenes of contemporary Germany. Celebrated as one of the first German pop novels to show the influence of Bret Easton Ellis, the work was also interpreted as an examination of the crisis of Western society in both the individual and national search for identity. In 1999 Kracht appeared as part of a »pop culture quintet« along with Joachim Bessing, Eckhart Nickel, Alexander von Schönburg and Benjamin von Stuckrad-Barre. Together they published »Tristesse Royal«.

Some critics ex presse d surprise at the new gravitas displayed in his second novel »1979« (2001). Here, the author sets the West – shown as being decadent and powerless as the protagonist who embodies it – against the totalitarian systems of Maoism and Islam. While critics assumed that Kracht had changed direction as a writer, the author himself emphasized the continuity between his novels. The main characters in both represent the same »project« that has simply been exposed to diverse circumstances.

Kracht has been accused of placing aesthetics over ethics for his participation in the volume »Die totale Erinnerung« (2006; Eng. »Ministry of Truth: Kim Jong-Il's North Korea«, 2007). This book of photography shows Kim Jong II’s North Korea as it is presented to foreigners. Kracht adheres to the tradition of the dandy and invokes Flaubert, leaving the understanding and moral reasoning of his works to readers.

Kracht’s most recent book, »Metan« (2007), was written in collaboration with Ingo Niermann and has received mixed reviews. The ironic worldwide conspiracy theory gives flatulent gas a whole new role. Kracht is a recipient of the Axel Springer Prize. He lives in different places around the world.

© international literature festival berlin

[http://www.christiankracht.com]