Three women, three mothers and three partners are at the centre of Volkmar Mühleis’ new story. Three fates, marked by cancer – described from the point of view of the boy, the man, the friend.
In his autobiographical story Abschied ist ein langes Wort (Farewell is a long word), Volkmar Mühleis delves into three life stories that are unexpectedly overshadowed by cancer. Memories from childhood, of his own aunt’s illness, are interwoven with experiences in his partner’s life and among his friends. Families are put to the test, the overstrain of the adults is written all over the children’s faces. This book goes beyond the understandable and feasible of diagnosis and therapy to use literature to probe the edges of experience and to let the echoes of grief, the moments of joy and the fear for each other resonate imaginatively and poetically. It is a memento mori and at the same time a commemoration of life – the attempt to inscribe oneself succinctly in the rift that henceforth pervades everyday life, the search for words.
Narrative, published by Passagen Verlag, Vienna
80 pages cost 12 euros