In the ongoing discussion about the “crisis” in Europe, people keep referring to the need for a pan-European narrative: a story that provides inspiration for the project as a whole, giving it a convincing form and contemporary identity. But as yet we don’t have an all-embracing narrative like this – and rarely did it seem less certain that such a thing could ever exist at all, urgent though it may seem to us. We have chosen a different direction with Hausbesuch: an approach involving literary encounters with individual everyday realities in Europe.
Over a period of seven months the project, which was initiated by the Goethe-Institut, motivated dialogue between ten high-profile authors from Portugal, Spain, France, Luxemburg, Belgium, Italy and Germany, and private individuals. Forty hosts in seventeen cities – ranging from tattoo artists in a flat-share in Porto and football fans in Freiburg to a dealer in devotional objects in Palermo – opened their doors to welcome one of the authors, who then recorded their impressions in the form of essays.The result was ten literary miniatures: Katja Lange-Müller outlines her nocturnal encounters in a surrealistic pub in Brussels, Michela Murgia experiences the effects of a Franco-German semi-final of the European football championship in Marseille, Marie Darrieussecq asks herself why there is a Pizzeria Napoli in Dresden, but when she travels to Naples there’s no restaurant named after Dresden. One evening led to another, and one story to another – and as a result, through this insight into people’s private worlds, a snapshot of Europe was created – and thus a narrative that unfolds from the depths of the space in question rather than crossing over the top of it.We have deliberately published the stories in the languages of the seven home countries of the authors involved in the project, as well as of their hosts. This allows each essay to continue the European journey to which it owes its origin. Thanks to the technical opportunities offered by e-books, the reader can join the journey – and become immersed in a European story in different languages.The essays written for the project will be published in stand-alone format by Frohmann Verlag for the moment. The compiled edition in six languages will be published in March 2017 for the Leipzig Book Fair.
From 10th of January on, you can download here each week a story of Hausbesuch
Alina Bronsky experiences “co-cooking” Tatar/Piemont-style in Turin and suddenly feels like a stranger in her familiar home city of Frankfurt.
Marie Darrieussecq links Naples with Dresden to create a European geographic feature. Following in the footsteps of Viktor Klemperer she concentrates on the destruction and rebuilding of Europe.
Katja Lange-Müller spends some nostalgic moments in a surrealistic pub in Brussels. In Freiburg she visits a ladies’ chamber orchestra in the leafy suburb of Vauban, and finally she encounters homeless people from Berlin at the station
Michela Murgia sings in Frankfurt with her compatriots, and experiences the effects of a Franco-German semi-final in the European football cup in Marseille
Jordi Puntí gets involved in highly political discussions in Nancy. In Hamburg’s Schanzen district, he discusses the experiences of a removal man touring through Europe.
Sasha M. Salzmann and Tucké Royale discover the secrets of life in Palermo with a Muslim flavour, characterised by plastic chairs and cafés.
Gonçalo M. Tavares learns to understand the significance of minority languages and migration whilst enjoying the hospitality of his host in Luxemburg. In Frankfurt his motivation is the question of what exactly the residents of the city are hoping to achieve.
Annelies Verbeke discovers her love of mosaics in Genoa and encounters a lifestyle based on solidarity. In Schwäbisch Hall she finds out how the people of Cameroon have fallen in love with the German language.
David Wagner learns that olives are good for dreams in Barcelona. And defies the inclemencies of the weather in Mannheim’s gardens
Marie Darrieussecq | October
Frankfurt am Main
Michela Murgia | June
Alina Bronsky | July
Gonçalo M. Tavares | September
Katja Lange-Müller | July
Guy Helminger | September
Jordi Puntí | June
Sasha Marianna Salzmann | June
Mannheim and Heidelberg
David Wagner | July
Annelies Verbeke | July
Michela Murgia | July
Jordi Puntí | July
Katja Lange-Müller | September
Gonçalo M. Tavares | May
Annelies Verbeke | June
Marie Darrieussecq | September
Sasha Marianna Salzmann | July
Alina Bronsky | May
David Wagner | May
Guy Helminger | September