Rue Ordener, Rue Labat
Reportagen, Fiktionen, Wirklichkeiten der Hauptstadt des 20. Jahrhunderts
The ironic self-awareness of the poet can only be that of his own inauthenticity, repeated or fed back into itself at increasingly conscious levels, and ‘to know inauthenticity is not the same as to be authentic’.
The question of authenticity and I go back some way; we’re old sparring partners – frenemies. It’s been a fraught relationship, shot through with paradox and misconstruing. My first novel, Remainder, does turn around its protagonist’s obsession with becoming ‘real’, inhabiting his era or his city, building, skin, movements and gestures in a ‘first-hand’ or ‘authentic’ way, an obsession which he carries to the point of murder. Yet the pleasure of seeing this book receiving glowing press reviews that praised it for its ‘originality’ and ‘true’-ness was tinged with an awareness of something being odd or ‘off’, since Remainder is in fact the most un-original of novels, a novel about non-originality and simulacra that’s quite blatantly composed of set tropes and constructed situations reprised and, only slightly modified, replayed from sources ranging from Ballard’s Crash and Beckett’s Godot back to Sterne’s Tristram Shandy (Uncle Toby’s domestic re-stagings of battle terrains)...
I really should not have hired him, but he seemed like he could fill in for my regular cook. Schneider had called in sick it seemed like it could drag on, so I took him on without too much fuss. He was a stocky, small man who could speak only broken German. At the end of the day, business had to go on, and the guests were hungry.
The complex relationships that you maintain often are unclear, even to yourself. So too the code that goes along with them. It is hard to decipher. It is only when things go off the rails that you recognize how well the self-regulation mechanisms were working: how Schneider would organize his purchases, how he would talk to the staff, how he put together the ingredients, and how truly he was interested in keeping business humming.
On the surface, the assistant chef worked in the same...