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Albert Ostermaier

May the Black Sun shine - Novel

(German title: Schwarze Sonne scheine)
ca. 360 pages
Clothbound
2011
Albert Ostermaier
Foto: Albert Ostermaier
© Susanne Schleyer

Albert Ostermaier, born in Munich in 1967, was playwright-in-residence at the Nationaltheater in Mannheim and at the Bayerisches Staatsschauspiel.

Albert Ostermaier has been awarded renowned prizes for his dramatic works, among them the Kleist-Prize, the Bertolt-Brecht-Prize and the 2011 World Literature Prize for his oeuvre. He has hitherto published more than 20 books and 28 plays with Suhrkamp. He was writer-in-residence in New York and has been a visiting lecturer at various German universities for the past few years. Ostermaier gained a high reputation as the artistic director of different festivals.

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About

The young man’s delving into the past, the detailed and sober account of his boarding school life and the lost years of his adolescence, gradually reveal the disturbing panorama of moral-political authorities in the South of Germany, where the individual counts for little and the church for everything.

Only those who, like Ostermaier, decidedly go against the well-functioning, interconnected hierarchies are capable of telling the story of the suffering they produce. Ostermaier writes in a thrilling way, with as much empathy as distance, and in an explanatory tone that becomes accusatory at times.

The protagonist of Albert Ostermaier’s second novel is facing an impossible and irresolvable dilemma that lends this novel its existential, moral and societal dimensions. The young man, who grew up in a Catholic boarding school in Bavaria and has dedicated his life to becoming a writer, needs to make a choice: certain death or uncertain survival. In making this decision, he has to put his life entirely into the hands of other people. A well-established female doctor has diagnosed him with a fatal illness that only she as a specialist is able to detect. She insists he must immediately fly to Texas, the only place where he could be treated. His paternal mentor, a Catholic priest, advises him to trust the doctor and to travel to the United States.

What should he do? Get a second opinion, even though the doctor assures him that no one but herself will be able to detect the rare virus? Follow his parents’ advice to seek treatment instantly? Instead of doing either, he is re-evaluating his life and the events that led to this dramatic situation.

Praise

»An almost unbelievable story told in a tragicomedia style. A daredevil rollercoaster ride examining every facet of an electrically wired mind.« Herbert Grönemeyer

»In May the Black Sun Shine everything is vital, powerful, complex and thrilling. […] Albert Ostermaier’s expressionistic courage ought to be exemplary for young writers.« Die Zeit

»May the Black Sun Shine became a beautiful book. It is sad and oddly funny, absurd and warm. « FR

»Ostermaier, leading poet and playwright, is a maximalist, and his eagerly awaited, possibly autobiographical, second novel is magnificent and baroque: a wonderfully over-the-top self-examination of the artist as a young man, and a profound investigation into our deepest fears. […] The language makes May the Black Sun Shine what it is. A darkly sparkling gem.« New Books in German

Other publications

Lenz im Libanon/Lenz in Lebanon (2015)

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Arabic world rights (Al Kamel)

Zephyr/Zephyr (2008)

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Italy (Scritturapura)