In Film and Fate: Camera Flashes Illuminating a Life, Ilse Aichinger describes her past and her present largely from the viewpoint of her abiding passion for the cinema, and for still photography. She reflects on her life by discussing directors ranging from Luchino Visconti to Leni Riefenstahl, actors ranging from Orson Welles to Stan Laurel, and photographs by Bill Brandt depicting subjects as diverse as the Brontës’ Haworth Parsonage and London’s East End. Though Aichinger’s recollections are detailed, intriguing and vivid, they are pervaded by her sense of the contingency and fragility of existence – of how the presence of pictures and people in her life presages their disappearance, and of how “memory shatters easily when you try to master it.”
Ilse Aichinger (1921–2016) was an Austrian writer and an important representative of the German-speaking post-war literature. She wrote short stories, poems and radio plays. Many national and international prizes, i.a. Nelly-Sachs-Preis (1971), Petrarca-Preis (1982), Franz-Kafka-Preis (1983), Großer Österreichischer Staatspreis für Literatur (1995).
Geoff Wilkes is a Senior Lecturer in German Studies at the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia. His previous translations include Irmgard Keun’s Gilgi, One of Us and some short pieces by Hans Fallada.