BWith so much excitement, it’s easy to miss an outstretched hand. This week, Kim de l’Horizon, freshly chosen as the book prizewinner, published a text in the “Neue Zürcher Zeitung”, the newspaper that has never before had a trans person write it themselves, but is now proudly making room for a Swiss voice. Fortunately, it’s not about shaved heads again, that’s what the whole book fair was about extensively enough.
On the side, it is about a man whose importance should not be overestimated beyond the borders of Switzerland, about Ueli Maurer, a federal councilor of the national conservative SVP, who recently announced who would be suitable for his successor: man or woman, in God’s name, just no “it”. In addition, Kim de l’Horizon writes about a violent attack in Berlin. Since receiving the book prize, Kim de l’Horizon has received so many threats that the publisher has had to hire security for the duration of the book fair. Every appearance, every outfit was dissected, particularly experimental passages from “Blood Book” disseminated incoherently and declared embarrassing, exhausting and artificial, as if one were used to holiday reading by book prizewinners.
In any case, the interesting thing about Kim de l’Horizon’s contribution to the NZZ is how he fights against polarization. “There are people like me who stick together, especially in a loose community, because we are attacked, beaten and killed,” writes de l’Horizon. “But I don’t speak for this community because there is no consensus in it either. I only speak for myself.” It is an accessible, a constructive, a metatext to the shifted discourse on attention and identity, just as much of the novel is accessible to us binary creatures. Talking about the wounds of society and how to heal them may not yet be fully compatible. But how relatable was the message of an author scratching his forehead in front of the assembled audience?
In the characteristic tone of the blood book, a mixture of drama, self-mockery and fine mockery, Kim de l’Horizon describes the attributions, the hunger for power, the imprinting of the soul, without blaming anyone, not even Ueli Maurer. And that’s a step forward, even compared to many who, excited and unforgiving, think they’re on the same side. Now only those who insist that literature has nothing to do with identity should read an award-winning book at leisure instead of constantly pointing to the author’s identity. It might give us some healing.