Portrait Eva Menasse
© Hartwig Klappert

Guest 2010, 2018, 2019.

Bibliography

Der Holocaust vor Gericht

Siedler

Berlin, 2000

Vienna

Kiepenheuer & Witsch

Köln, 2005

Lässliche Todsünden

Kiepenheuer & Witsch

Köln, 2009

Quasikristalle

Kiepenheuer & Witsch

Köln, 2013

Tiere für Fortgeschrittene

Kiepenheuer & Witsch

Köln, 2017

 

Eva Menasse [ Austria ]

Eva Menasse was born in 1970 in Vienna. She studied German language and literature as well as history and worked as a journalist for the Viennese news magazine »Profil« and as a cultural editor for the »FAZ«. In 2000, she reported for weeks on the trial of the Holocaust denier David Irving. Menasse’s first published book addressed this case and appeared under the title »Der Holocaust vor Gericht« (2000; tr: The Holocaust on Trial).

In light of Menasseʼs career as a journalist, it is not surprising that her first novel »Vienna« (2005) is marked by her journalistic experience. The author gathered the material for her novel – which tells the story of a family with half Jewish, half Christian roots in Austria in the 20th century – by interviewing her own relatives and exhaustively researching the era of World War II. The portrait of the lively family, whose anecdotal storytelling tradition masks their fear of the terrible rifts in their own history, therefore partly echoes Menasse’s own family. Her successful début novel, which has been translated into many languages, was followed by the short fiction collection »Lässliche Todsünden« (2009; tr: Forgivable Deadly Sins) with seven stories about modern transgressions. In 2013 she published her novel »Quasikristalle« (tr: Quasicrystals), in which she shows the biography of a woman in her various aspects, portraying her as mother and daughter, friend, tenant and patient, as a fleeting acquaintance and disloyal wife and at the same time asking questions about perception and truth: »It is a pleasure to read a book that is so at home in the now« (»Der Spiegel«). Her story collection »Tiere für Fortgeschrittene« (2017, tr: Advanced Studies in Animals) comprises eight texts about the everyday problems of impressively normal heroes. In the stories, a man wants to keep his wife’s dementia a secret, a mother attempts in vain to be politically correct towards her daughter’s Muslim classmates, and a patchwork family takes a vacation to Turkey. All of the stories are prefaced by strange things that are communicated by animals.

Eva Menasse also wrote two children’s books in the late 1990s together with her brother Robert and her sister-in-law Elisabeth Menasse, »Die letzte Märchenprinzessin« (1997, tr: The Last Fairytale Princess) and »Der mächtigste Mann« (1998, tr: The Most Powerful Man). The author has received many awards for both her journalistic work and her literary writing, including the Gerty Spies Literature Prize and the Heinrich Böll Prize in 2013. In 2015 she was a grant recipient at the Villa Massimo in Rome. She won the Friedrich Hölderlin Prize and the Austrian Book Prize for »Tiere für Fortgeschrittene« in 2017 and the Ludwig Börne Prize in 2019. Eva Menasse, who has lived in Berlin for 20 years, is also the writer-in-residence for the city of Mainz in the year 2019.