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ELSEWHERE - LITERATURE IN EXILE
MONDAY, JUN 20 2016, 06:30 PM
In his fast-paced and heart-wrenching novel Elsewhere (Haus Publishing, 2014), Doron Rabinovici stirs up concepts of origin, identity and belonging as he describes the shifting, twisting relationships in a Jewish family. Old skeletons are dragged out of cupboards, new secrecies are closely observed. By the end of this gripping story, only one thing is certain: home is wherever you feel most like a stranger. The original novel Andernorts (Suhrkamp, 2010), which was translated from the German by Tess Lewis, was shortlisted for the 2010 German Book Prize.
The talk between the author and his translator will be moderated by George Prochnik, whose acclaimed biography The Impossible Exile (Other Press, 2014) of Austrian writer-in-exile Stefan Zweig is said to have inspired filmmaker Wes Anderson to produce and direct the award–winning “Grand Budapest Hotel.”
SYNOPSIS OF ELSEWHERE:
Why would Israeli sociologist Ethan Rosen ignite a controversy over an article he wrote himself? Does he not recognize his own writing? Or has he been set up by his colleague Rudi Klausinger, who is vying for the same professorship at the University of Vienna? Ethan and Rudi are luminaries in the same field of research, but are otherwise like chalk and cheese. Rosen can live anywhere but has no real home. He does not even give the woman he loves his real name. Klausinger, a golden boy who can adapt to any situation, is always restless. An illegitimate child, his search for his biological father is what drives him, and what ultimately leads him to the Rosen family. Ethan’s father, an old Viennese Jew who survived Auschwitz, desperately needs a new kidney, and the entire family has become obsessed with finding a donor. The eccentric and fanatical Rabbi Berkowitsch also develops a sudden interest in the Rosens: he is convinced Ethan’s father’s genes can help him bring the Messiah back to life.
A complex and moving novel about modern Jewish identity, Elsewhere takes aim at a number of sensitive issues, including nationalism, Zionism, collective guilt, the Holocaust, and Israel itself. As heartfelt and surprising as it is hilarious, it pokes fun at the things we care about in order to get at what really matters.
‘… as gripping as a crime novel and as hilarious as Woody Allen’s best films. Its sadness is truly moving.’ – FAZ
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Doron Rabinovic was born in Tel Aviv in 1961. He lives in Vienna since 1964. He is a historian, public intellectual and award-winning writer. His numerous awards include the Jean-Amery Prize, the Anton Wildgans Prize, the Clemens Brentano Prize, the Heimito von Doderer Prize, and many others. His novel Andernorts which was nominated and shortlisted for the German Book Prize, has been published as Elsewhere (Haus Publishing). In his most recent book, “Herzl Reloaded: No Fairytale”, Rabinovici and his co-author Natan Sznaider explore in a spirited exchange what Theodor Herzl has to say to us today.
ABOUT THE TRANSLATOR
Tess Lewis’s translations from French and German include works by Peter Handke, Anselm Kiefer, Philippe Jaccottet, and Jean-Luc Benoziglio. She was awarded the 2015 ACFNY Translation Prize for her translation of the novel Angel of Oblivion by the Austrian writer Maja Haderlap and most recently a Guggenheim Fellowship to translate the Swiss writer, Ludwig Hohl. She serves as an Advisory Editor for The Hudson Review and writes essays and reviews of European literature. In 2014 and 2015, Ms. Lewis curated Festival Neue Literatur, New York City’s premiere annual festival of German language literature in English. www.tesslewis.org
ABOUT THE MODERATOR
George Prochnik has written for the The New York Times, The New Yorker, Bookforum and the LA Review of Books. His most recent book The Impossible Exile: Stefan Zweig at the End of the World received the National Jewish Book Award for Biography/Memoir in 2014. His new book on Gershom Scholem and Jerusalem will be published next spring. He is editor-at-large for Cabinet magazine.
With the kind support of