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Chapter from "Eurotrash", Christian Kracht's new book, which will be published this year in Hebrew Israel today


At the center of the book is the protagonist and narrator, also Christian Kracht, who takes his eighty-year-old mother on a trip to Switzerland, a terminally ill addict addicted to gossip, alcohol and painkillers. , Bitter and comical, painful and tender

"Eurotrash", translated by Hanan Elstein, will be published this year by Ahuzat Beit.

Three previous Kracht novels were published in Hebrew: "Eretz Fruma" (Ahuzat Beit) and "Empire" (with Oved), both translated by Elstein, and "1979" (with Oved), translated by Avi Garfinkel.

Kracht, one of the greatest writers in German today, will be hosted next week at the Writers' Festival and the International Book Forum in Mishkenot Sha'ananim.

On the 17th of the month, at 18:30, an event will be held in his honor.

So like that, again I had to get to Zurich for a few days.

My mother wanted to talk to me urgently.

She rang and said, I'll be coming soon anyway, please, and it was terribly scary on the phone.

And because of the tension from that, all weekend long I felt so unwell that I suffered from severe constipation.

Besides, I must also add that twenty-five years ago I wrote a story, which for some reason, which unfortunately I no longer remember, I called a Promised Land.

It ended in Zurich, supposedly in the middle of Lake Zurich, in a rather traumatic way.

So for the first time I came in contact with the whole story again when I bought, in Zurich, as mentioned, down in Banhopstraße, a wool sweater, dark brown and quite coarse, at a small sales stand that was carelessly assembled from planks, not far from Pradplatz.

It was already evening, I had taken some valerian, and the influence of the balls and the hopelessness of the Swiss autumn and the twenty-five years that had passed - had oppressed and sat me boundlessly on the soul.

Shortly before that I was walking around the old city.

In a secret screening up in Niederdorf, they presented

In girum imus nocte et consumimur ign

i - "We go round and round at night, fed on fire" - Guy Debor's latest film, which was completed even before he committed suicide.

We were four or five people there, which seemed like a miracle to me, considering the warm evening that was still bright and sunny, and the fact that the piece was pale and drowsy.

And after the audience, i.e. the two professors, the projector and Homeless who had wanted to sleep for a while in the armchair of a cinema, said goodbye and finished shaking hands, I walked down again in the direction of Pradplatz, without intention and meaning, throughout the night.

And there, on the other side of the Limmat River, I found exactly the same makeshift stall of a Swiss commune, where two bespectacled women and a bearded, friendly young man sold heavy wool sweaters and natural-colored blankets, which they themselves knitted.

Next to the clothes displayed in the shop windows of the Banhopstraße boutique shops, which had long been closed but still brightly lit, these simple woolen items looked authentic and homely to me, just as the smile of the two saleswomen seemed to me, yes, it should be said, imbued with reality and meaning.

To me at least it looks more real than all the Bahnhofstrasse and its Swiss flags, which hung in dozens everywhere everywhere left and right, and from the lavish, provincial and negligible decorations on the shop windows.

And when I sent the communes the hundred franc bill - after taking off my sweater, which despite the cold I put on to try out of a spontaneous decision, and after folding and placing it for me in a simple light brown paper bag - I got the impression for a moment, yes, maybe the wrong impression, That through this deal I came to something relevant.

Whatever it was, I was given the bag and also a colored leaflet, somewhat faded, and I slipped it into the bag with a slight embarrassment.

In the meantime I can get rid of him later without them noticing, I thought, and said goodbye with a slightly strange smile, and trembling slightly walked towards Minsterplatz, thinking of making another drink at the bar of the Kronenhale restaurant, before I go back to the hotel, get into bed, take another sleeping pill Natural and turns off the light.

The affairs of my mother, and now I perceive it, because of which every two months I had to visit Zurich, this city of the swollen and nomadic Swiss and the humiliation - these matters have completely paralyzed me for years.

It became horrible, it became utterly repulsive and in every way, it became more than I could bear, more than you are usually supposed to bear.

I mean, my mom was very sick, I mean, sick in the head too, not just there, but there more than anything.

In order not to lose touch with her and in order not to succumb to a state of giving up and hopelessness, I once decided that I would visit her every two months.

Yes, I decided to just put up with the misery with which my mother had lived her life for decades in her apartment, surrounded by empty vodka bottles rolling, bills not opened from the various sable fur shops in Zurich, and the rustling aluminum covers of her painkiller packs.

But now she contacted me on her own initiative and called me to her, the other times she just always waited until I finally popped up, in this bi-monthly cycle, in Zurich.

Most of the time she would require me to tell her some stories.

The phone call I got from her made me, as I said, even more tense than these visits made me anyway, because she was planning something, suddenly her hand was on top, it came from her so to speak, the other times she was always silent and waiting.

She had neither email nor cell phone and she objected to the internet.

Too complicated, she always said, and the keys, are too small for her.

But I suspected she refused it out of arrogance and not because of a lack of simple ability to use the keys.

She pretended she liked reading newspapers and Stendhal.

Her skin had a texture of dry silk, it was always a bit burnt from the sun, even though she had never sat outside on the porch, next to the hydrangea plants.

The maid stole from her, every two days her wallet was empty.

She spent almost no money, and yet everything always disappeared, just as her black Mercedes disappeared one day, was removed from the parking lot of the apartment building and taken to Bukovina by the Bukovinian housekeeper's husband, it was a horror, but at least she was no longer in Winterthur.

I mean, she had to celebrate her eightieth birthday there in the closed ward at the psychiatric hospital.

If they had treated it with humor, it would have been like with Dirnmatt, but in fact it was much sadder than it was with Dirnmatt, because here it was my mother and not some mother, and not some psychiatric hospital, but the one with the darkest and cruelest name of all. : Winter.

Translated from German and added comments: Hanan Elstein

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Source: israelhayom

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