Rainald Goetz


(German title: Rave)
ca. 271 pages
Rainald Goetz
Foto: Rainald Goetz

Rainald Goetz, born May 24th, 1954 in Munich, studied History and Medicine in Munich and obtained a doctoral degree in both subjects. He briefly worked as a physician, but quit this profession for the sake of literature in his early thirties. His first novel, Mad, a story set in a psychiatric hospital, was published in 1983. Goetz subsequently also succeeded as a playwright. In 1998, Goetz was writing the internet diary »Rubbish for Everyone«, probably the first literary blog in Germany, with entries on the world of media and consumerism. It was published in book form in 1999 and together with Rave, Jeff Koons, Celebration and Deconspiracy belongs to Today Tomorrow, Goetz’s great history of the present. From 2007 until 2008, he wrote the blog »Lament« on the website of »Vanity Fair«; the blog was released in book form as early as 2008 and introduced the project »Ravine«, an analysis of the 2000s. This project includes works such as babbling, a volume of photographs entitled september eleventh 2010 and finally his latest novel Johann Holtrop, that describes the rise and fall of a manager. Rainald Goetz was awarded numerous prizes, most notably the Büchner-Prize in 2015. He lives in Berlin. (source: www.deutscheakademie.de)

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English world rights (Fitzcarraldo), Denmark (Det poetiske Bureau)


»Rave tells stories from life in the depths of the night. What are they really doing, these people who live at night, when they go somewhere to party every weekend? They listen to music and they dance. They go out to set the night on fire, to hook up, to go crazy. They descend into black holes with a plaque hanging over the door: know who I am. –– Who are you? –– Finally the thing was broken down enough. I could write about it. Nasty tales of friendship and love as the betrayal of love, score-settling, arguments, sex. A broken down scene. Where should it go? –– Somewhere, whatever the hour of the day, someone slogs along after one of these excessively brutal weekends: shipwrecked on the utterly normal quotidian peopled streets. On the sly, he keeps his eyes peeled for a newspaper to find out which day it is today. And he reads the words, ›Come over, shooting star.‹ It sounds good.«

»›Meet girls. Take drugs. Listen to music.‹ In Rave, cult German novelist Rainald Goetz takes a headlong dive into nineties techno culture. From the cathartic release on the dance floor to the intense conversations in corners of nightclubs and the after-parties in the light of dawn, this exhilarating, fragmentary novel captures the feeling of debauchery from within. Dazzling and intimate, Rave is an unapologetic embrace of nightlife from an author unafraid to lose himself in the subject of his work.« (book description of the English edition by Fitzcarraldo)


»Goetz’s writing is a kind of dancing. Each sentence, fragment, captures the essence of what it’s like to live inside the spaces of techno music. Thoughts come and go, and return louder, later in the text, with an urgent rhythm that makes the cumulative case for the transformative power of the dance floor. This is writing of and from the body, hot, sweaty, dazed, decadent, and ultimately life-affirming.« Julia Bell, author of The Dark Light

»Rave matches [Bernhard] with its pitch-black humour and philosophical intensity. Questions of interiority, the external world, language and meaning are opened up within its circuit of pills and beats and clubs, like a genuinely meaningful drug trip.« Financial Times

»Spilling out and trying to contain, understanding and rejecting the offered narratives – this is all part of a push and pull we use to learn about the self. It’s in this madness, and not aside from it, that Goetz thrives.« BOMB

»This mid-rave feeling of being utterly present, devoid of any sense of time, place, or ego, is exceedingly difficult to capture in any sort of strictly representational art form, but German writer Rainald Goetz’s 1998 novel Rave manages to convey the black hole of a dissociative dance floor experience with clarity. [...] Rave avoids the saccharine tropes that most writing about dance music succumbs to, whether it be the glorification of excess, the distorting effects of nostalgia, or ham-fisted descriptions of euphoria. [...] Goetz’s novel succeeds in translating into black and white an embodied and ineffable experience, something prose isn’t especially equipped to accomplish.« Rachel Hahn, The Nation

»Goetz’s achievement in Rave is a book about clubbing that avoids the usual cliches. This is due not least to his inventive syntax, which freely mixes first, second and third person voices along with present and past tenses and fragmentary paragraphs [...] Rave is a cocktail of Céline, Bolaño and Döblin that brings it luridly to the page.« Liam Cagney, Irish Times

»Goetz employs a digressive quantity of scenes, within which his insights about dance music culture remain extraordinarily sharp [...] Rave distills a specific time in the mid-90s when the subculture had become an industry. Goetz’s respect for dance music lies not in how his characters occupy or regard it, but in the flux of the novel’s mercurial structure... Beyond his admiration for craft, he is touching as a witness to our helpless need to connect [...] In an extraordinary year, [...] the experience of reading Rave is a cruel suspension between agony and ecstasy.« WIRE

»To sample an old saying: if you can remember the nineties, you weren’t there. Rainald Goetz was there, and found a form in which to summon the sensations and sounds, the highs and the bass, of techno culture. This is a classic cut from a fabled era that will enrich the mix of today’s rave culture – and fills in the memory hole for some of us old-timers« McKenzie Wark, author of The Beach Beneath the Street

»This time it’s not blood dripping on his text, but the nocturnal sweat of the techno dancer. Goetz’s great achievement is, above all, to have translated the thudding rhythm of this new music into rhythmic language« Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

»Likewise, Rave is an all-consuming experience. It’s a challenging read. For anyone who was there, though, it will most likely be worth it.« Lunate

»The stories this book tells... are not stories as such, but stages of a ritual that conjures up, and attempts to reproduce in writing, the sacred, soulful state of being-in-music.« Berliner Zeitung

»A must-read.« Vogue

»Goetz is capable like none other of drawing on distinct registers that enable him to speak without intellectual aloofness from inside this unique world while at the same time interpreting it theoretically.« Frankfurter Rundschau

Other publications

Johann Holtrop. Abriss der Gesellschaft. Roman/Johann Holtrop (2012)

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Italy (Fazi), Netherlands (Leesmagazijn), Republic of Moldova / Romanian rights (Cartier)

Jeff Koons/Jeff Koons (2002)

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France (L'Arche); previously published in the respective language / territory; rights available again: English world rights (Oberon Books), Korea (Sung Kyun Kwan UP), Japan (Ronsosha), Poland (Ksiegarnia Akademicka), Czech Republic (Zivilverein Transteatral)

Irre/Mad (1983)

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English world rights (Fitzcarraldo), Spanish world rights (Sexto Piso), France (Gallimard), Netherlands (Het balanseer)