Kempowski on Gloomy Literature and Death

From a long interview (G) with the gravely-ill Walter Kempowski (my translation):

You have the gift of humor. Why does everything have to be so gloomy in German literature?

Gloomy and ideological. Germans so often had to twist themselves to Christianity, Communism, Nazism — who could possibly keep a sense of humor during all that?

***

How do you want to die?

Like [Theodor] Fontane. While eating, he told his daughter: "I’m just going to go into the other room." When she looked in after a quarter-hour, he lay there on the bed, dead. I probably won’t have it that easy.

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