Albert Ostermaier

Zephyr - Novel

(German title: Zephyr)
ca. 221 pages
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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Italy (Scritturapura)


Albert Ostermaier's first novel is a dazzling puzzle narrated with swift shifts of perspectives, a fast-and-furious pendant to the »film noir«, a dark song of love, whose rhythm and chorus irresistibly draw the reader into an overpowering story.

Screenwriter Gilles wants to flee from the suffocating everyday life that destroys his marriage with Cathy. So he rents a villa at the Côte d'Azur for both of them. It's the exact location where the French movie »La Piscine« was shot, a story about an eternal triangle with Alain Delon and Romy Schneider.
In France Gilles feels more estranged from his wife than ever. He suspects her of feigning sleep to avoid dealing with him in any way. Gilles asks his best friend Costello, who introduced him to Cathy in the first place, to come and give him advice on the screenplay he works on. Together they mix facts and fiction while reviewing the authentic case of the rock singer Bertrand who killed his actress girlfriend Marie. Bertrand had left his pregnant wife to be with Marie while she seemed to carry on with her ex-friend, the film director Samuel. Bertrand followed her to a movie shooting in Vilnius, Lithuania. In a fit of jealousy Bertrand beat her up and fell asleep right beside her on the hotel bed without realizing that she fell into a coma. Shortly after Marie died at a hospital. Bertrand's suicide attempt failed. He was arrested. Looking for further inspiration, Gilles finds it increasingly difficult to distinguish between reality and fiction. He superimposes the things he sees with the things his inner camera eye perceives. He accuses Costello to have slept with his wife. Although both deny it, Gilles gets obsessed with the idea of their betrayal.

When Costello suddenly disappears, a police inspector investigates. Costello's body is found but although Gilles is the main suspect the inspector can't prove his guilt. Finally, Gilles confesses to Cathy that he drowned Costello in the swimming pool and dumped him into the sea. Cathy isn't sure whether to believe him. While Cathy is sleeping, he tells her the Greek story of Zephyr, the lovesick west wind, who killed a young man out of jealousy, before Gilles slowly suffocates her with a pillow.

Other publications

Lenz im Libanon/Lenz in Lebanon (2015)

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Arabic world rights (Al Kamel)

Schwarze Sonne scheine/May the Black Sun shine (2011)

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Domestic Rights Sales: German Audiobook (Griot)