Peter Weber [Switzerland]

 

Guest 2017

Bibliography

Der Wettermacher

Suhrkamp

Frankfurt a. M., 1993

Silber und Salbader

Suhrkamp

Frankfurt a. M., 1999

Bahnhofsprosa

Suhrkamp

Frankfurt a. M., 2002

Die melodielosen Jahre

Suhrkamp

Frankfurt a. M., 2007

Himmel

[Hg. Peter Weber u. Mara Züst]

Ill. Andreas Züst

Edition Patrick Frey

Zürich, 2010

Biography

The Swiss writer Peter Weber was born in 1968 in Wattwil. After finishing school he lived for several years in Zürich, where he teamed up with musicians from various disciplines to realize several projects such as »Singende Eisen, Spangen und Gleise« (tr. Singing iron, braces and rails) with the poetizing Jew’s harpists Bodo Hell, Michel Mettler and Anton Bruhin as well as with the improvisational string quartet »Die Firma« (tr. The firm).

Weber published »Der Wettermacher« (tr. The weather maker), his first novel, in 1993. Critically acclaimed as »perhaps the most spectacular literary debut in years« (»Focus«), the novel is set in the legendary landscape of Switzerland’s Toggenburg Valley. On the evening before his 20th birthday the protagonist, August Abraham Abderhalden, holes up in the cottage belonging to his father – an IT civil servant working for the railroad – and reflects on his young life. Above all he mourns his black, adopted brother, Freitag, who drowned in the Thur, after which the family moved to Zürich. Weber’s text is marked by imagery, irony and a close examination of everyday issues as well as stylistic and rhythmical diversity. Inconspicuous objects are charged with multiple layers of meaning, as the author plays with language and various narrative mindsets. In »Silber und Salbader« (1999; tr. Silver and windbags) Weber’s onomatopoeic descriptions of Swiss bathing culture, amid the noisy landscape of the Limmat Valley, precipitate in the sonic image of a »sensual bathing novel« (»Frankfurter Rundschau«). Weber continually diverges from fables and stories, particularly in »Bahnhofsprosa« (2002), which comprises 24 short texts in which he traverses – acoustically, above all – the universe of train stations and railways: »When I began to write, I had the feeling that there was no longer any structure […]. Language consisted of empty skins, shriveled balloons and the like. Rebuilding this language, enriching it sensually in little cells, with eyes, a nose and ears – this is what has preoccupied me in recent years.« Like Weber himself, the protagonist of his novel »Die melodielosen Jahre« (2007; tr. The years without melody) is a musician and writer. In the years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, Oliver travels across Europe and notices that melody is disappearing from music and electronic music is dominating the continent. In terms of style, the novel seizes on the principle of this new music by subsisting primarily on rhythm, recurring motifs and the author’s virtuosic coining of new words.

The literary output of Peter Weber, who has also published a series of essays, has been honored with numerous prizes, including the 1993 Literaturförderpreis der Jürgen-Ponto-Stiftung, the 1994 Literaturförderpreis der Freien Hansestadt Bremen, and the 2007 Solothurner Literaturpreis. From 2004 to 2005 he was writer-in-residence in Bergen (Frankfurt am Main). Repeated stays in Istanbul. The author currently lives in Zürich.