Hans Platzgumer, geboren 1969 in Innsbruck, wurde als Musiker bekannt. „Bogners Abgang“ ist sein achter Roman.
Innsbruck – The situation should not be completely alien to any artist: You hunch back stupidly – and the reward for all performance is the semi-public humiliation through the more or less practiced stroke of the pen of criticism. The list of literary testimonies from artists who think they are misunderstood is long. Goethe threatened the reviewer with manslaughter in the poem of the same name. Thomas Bernhard recommended that chimpanzees discuss his books right away. And in 2002 Martin Walser imagined the “death of a critic”, which could hardly be read in any other way than the rather simple-minded, encrypted revenge fantasy of a disgraced author.
Now Hans Platzgumer has come up with an artist who feels himself being crushed by a critic who is impressed by his own importance – and who is driven by this insult at nightfall in front of the know-it-all’s hangout. The fact that this know-it-all has subtle but plausible arguments for his slipping and that the artist, his name is Bogner, is not exactly a popular figure, makes the mood even more explosive. How it discharges cannot be revealed at this point. Platzgumer’s new novel “Bogner’s Abgang” is not a thriller. But a masterful finger exercise when it comes to skillfully building up tension. Because with every new detail that Platzgumer reveals about the midnight meeting of art and criticism, with every new aspect that he slips into his narrative, artfully composed from different perspectives, the story appears in a new light. The twists and turns that connect all the threads in “Bogner’s Abgang” were surprising and yet admirably consistent. An accident happened in the foothills of Innsbruck city center. The car continues, a man is seriously injured. He dies without regaining consciousness. The police are in the dark. At least that’s what the media report.
In truth, things are more complicated – less likely, more tragic, more tragicomic. “Bogner’s Abgang” is a dark gray comedy with an almost Dürrenmatt dimension. The story doesn’t end until it has taken its worst possible turn.
None of the characters get into the ominous entanglements of the rainy night through no fault of their own. Neither the artist Bogner, who struggled with the world, his work and world renown. Nor is the great critic Niederer, who has returned from the distant capital, injured. Or the student Nicole, who has beaten just a little over the strictness and first tries to cover up her negligence. And yet it is less questions of guilt that concern Platzgumer in his atmospherically dense novel, but rather the question of what it means to take responsibility for it. Things happen. Much could have been prevented. With a little thought. By taking a short breath. Or take a closer look. Some things one could get out of, others could be glossed over. But afterwards you are always smarter. And Hans Platzgumer only allows his art critic to know better afterwards. As a narrator, “Bogner’s Abgang” is about what it means to bear the consequences for what has been initiated intentionally or carelessly. That makes the novel, which Platzgumer wrote before Corona, a burning current reading. Especially in Tyrol. And not just because he lets his story take place here. (jole)
📚 novel Hans Platzgumer: Bogner’s departure. Zsolnay, 144 pages, 20.60 euros.