The Luxembourg writer Guy Helminger has been awarded the prestigious Servais Prize for his novel "Lärm" (noise). The prize, which is given to works published in the previous year, is one of the country’s most prestigious literary prizes.
Reconstruction of the life of a noise-sensitive psychotherapist
"Lärm" is written as an investigation that attempts to reconstruct the life of psychotherapist Konrad Schnittweg, a noise-sensitive protagonist and the alleged author of a threatening letter denouncing global conspiracies. The doctor disappears after a letter, revealing that he is planning an assassination, is sent to the press.
The story is told through several different characters and from their point of view. The investigation is therefore complicated as some believe that Konrad Schnittweg is a thoughtful and caring man, while others consider him to be the embodiment of the renewed political terror. Through the polyphonic juxtaposition of various types of styles of writing, Guy Helminger creates a novel set on different levels which can be interpreted in different ways.
The theme is topical and complex at the same time. The range of topics are anchored in current affairs, making for a fascinating read. For example, the author brings to light the process of political engagement, neo-liberal economic discourse and related economic experiences. Questions concerning the nature of truth, reflections on literature and the meaning of writing also play a significant role in the book.
"Lärm" by Guy Helminger is an entertaining and highly perceptive book. It stands out owing to the broad range of topics, the depth of the characters and its narrative structure. The novel is published by capybarabooks.
Born in 1963 in Esch-sur-Alzette, the author received the Servais Prize for the second time, twenty years after his collection of short stories "Rost" (Rust) in 2001.
Thirty years of awards
The Servais Prize, awarded by the eponymous Foundation, is a literary prize and includes € 6,000 in prize money which has been granted every year since 1992 for works of poetry or prose published in Luxembourg, irrespective of the language of publication. Its previous winners include many of Luxembourg’s most famous writers, including Francis Kirps (2020), Elise Schmit (2019), Nico Helminger (2018) and Nora Wagener (2017). The Servais Prize is awarded by an independent jury.