Satu Taskinen

Satu Taskinen (FI): „I try to add to awareness.“

Satu is described as an author who writes about the European middle class and thus writes European literature. One could say that she adds to awareness by pointing out the limitations of our knowledge and ambitions. What does “perfect” in her novel “The perfect Schweinsbraten” then mean? An e-mail interview.

On 06.07.2015 at 15:05 Julia Schiefer wrote:

You have a character in your novel The perfect Schweinsbraten (“Der perfekte Schweinsbraten“) who is in the beginning simply called “The Austrian” and described as a lovable opportunist. Comedian Helmut Qualtinger once said: “For the people in Vienna the only way to get satisfaction is to appreciate death.” The Austrians like to draw a picture of their country that includes a reasonable fetish of the morbid and of the catastrophe. You know this one? “The young ones in Vienna are born at seventy and live themselves down to fifty”, is what author André Heller once said. What would you do if the world ends tomorrow?

On 06.07.2015 at 20:09 Satu Taskinen wrote:

But yes, I have to laugh and nod when I read the quotes you chose. They do tell something about „the Austrians“, but also about this kind of human attitude against a total despair in general. What a strange way trying to find comfort against death. But quite clever and creative as well. It is like getting friends with an enemy you cannot conquer.

But you don’t conquer death by telling it: if I am quicker than you, I win. With another picture: if I go and lie down in the grave hole before you, death, force me in, I am stronger than you.

That is of course not true. And everybody knows it, even the Austrians. But the try is very human and somehow brave. There is a „never-give-up“ in this „giving-up“. The Austrian method of refusing, their „Trotz“ is a slow but efficient method of finding creative ways to hang in and win time. The Austrians are a bit like this: always say „no“ until you eventually have to say „yes“.

If I was told the world ends tomorrow, I would not believe it. No one believes it, although we know for 100% that this will once be the case.

Am 07.07.2015 um 12:34 schrieb Julia Schiefer:

You also said that laughter dissolves folly or absurdity – or it eases the tensions. Sure the beginning of your novel is pointing in this direction when the heroine is confronted with several receipts of the “perfect Schweinsbraten” which is in itself funny due to the paradox and following wits and tricks – and the casualness of the situation. So, how to deal with a receipt for a “perfect Schweinsbraten?”

Am 07.07.2015 um 17:09 schrieb Satu Taskinen:

In the „Schweinsbraten“ I write about worlds that don’t meet. For the people who have found a place in the world this is never an issue. It is an issue only for the people who don’t fit. They feel as outsiders for various reasons and suffer, because they have the feeling someone or something is pushing them off the planet and it would have been better for the others if they were not born at all. That is very painful. That is what I write about in my both novels.

The Austrian way of being thrilled about death is courageous in the same way. It is peeking to the depths, there where no one wants to go. Where the feeling takes over thought. Therefore so much absurdum in the art. Therefore being so interested in the mind, because it is the mind that creates the reality. Do you know Thomas Stangls books? Very beautiful studies on different minds and realities.

Leave a Reply