Burger's first major novel "Schilten. Schulbericht zuhanden der Inspektorenkonferenz" ("Schilten. School Report for the Attention of the Inspectors' Conference") was published in 1976 and made into a movie by Swiss film director Beat Kuert in 1979. It is about a teacher who has to tell the conference of inspectors about the development of his pupils, but speaks about death cult, graveyards and burials in a very detailed way. Archetypes of this novels are Franz Kafka and Thomas Bernhard. Burger mixes reality and fiction, and the more one reads about him, the more one finds out, that Burger writes about himself, his own suffering.
He won the Ingeborg Bachmann Prize in 1985 for his story "Die Wasserfallfinsternis von Badgastein" ("The Waterfall-Eclipse of Badgastein"). 1988, a changing of publishers from S. Fischer to Suhrkamp took place in a spectacular way.
The novel "Brenner" (in two volumes, four were planned), shows a protagonist wrapped in cigar smoke, who tells his life - Burger himself was a cigar smoker and descendant of cigar producers. Volume 1 has exactly 25 capitles, like a cigar box contains 25 cigars. Each capitle's name contains the name of a famous cigar brand. The second capitle announces the author's suicide intention: A red Ferrari is bought, because saving money no longer makes sense. It is about the divorce and the grief about having no contact to his two kids. Burger's last lessor was emeritus historian Jean Rudolf von Salis (= „Jérôme von Castelmur-Bondo“ in the novel). The last months of Burger's life and a review on his 46 years are described detailed in this roman a clef, he describes all coining persons (under changed names).
Burger's depressive and desperate moods grew with his literary acclaim, leading him to write the "Tractatus logico-suicidalis" (1988), a collection of aphorisms advocating suicide. The 1046 aphorisms are about the sentence „Gegeben ist der Tod, bitte finden Sie die Lebensursache heraus.“ (Death is given, please finde the cause of life.) The title remembers Ludwig Wittgenstein's Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus. The book about suicide was viewed by the critics with sarcasm, and the seriousity of his suicide plans were not recognized. On February 28, 1989 he committed suicide in Brunegg by taking an overdose of sleeping pills. Not until Burger's death the critics saw similarities to Jean Améry and his book Hand an sich legen (that Burger knew).
Burger's early promoter Marcel Reich-Ranicki, literature critic, wrote March 3, 1989, few days after his death, in an obituary: „Hermann Burger war ein Artist, der immer aufs Ganze ging, der sich nicht geschont hat. Er war ein Mensch mit einer großen Sehnsucht nach dem Glück. Die deutsche Literatur hat einen ihrer originellsten Sprachkünstler verloren.“ („Hermann Burger was an artist who went the whole hog every time, didn't conserve himself. He was a man with a big longing for happiness. The German literature has lost one of her most inventive language artists.")
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