Peter Bieri dies. The Swiss should be known to many under his pseudonym Pascal Mercier.
Hanser-Verlag has now announced that the writer died at the age of 79. According to a spokeswoman, he lived in Berlin until recently. Further details about the circumstances of death were not known.
Bieri made his breakthrough with the novel “Nachtzug nach Lisbon”; it appeared in 2004 and was filmed almost ten years later. In 2013 it celebrated its world premiere at the Berlinale. Bieri’s last novel, Weight of Words, was published in 2020. All of his five novels were published under the pseudonym Pascal Mercier.
His literary works were often intertwined with his philosophical work. In addition to novels, he also wrote numerous philosophical books, most recently “A Way to Live: About the Diversity of Human Dignity” from 2013.
“I never wanted children”
“We are losing a great thinker and novelist,” said publisher Jo Lendle. “Peter Bieri has shown in his own name and under his nom de plume all his life how thoughts and stories inspire each other: The philosopher learned from the narrator – and vice versa, his novels bring the great questions of humanity to life. His books remain. We are thank him for it.”
Peter Bieri’s editor Tobias Heyl also said: “Philosopher and novelist, a powerfully eloquent author who was at home in many languages: Peter Bieri took writing and reading seriously in a way that surprised some people.” Accordingly, Bieri “believed in the special power of books”.
Peter Bieri does not leave children behind. In an interview with “Cicero” the author once said: He never wanted children. “Because I would never have had the firmness, overview and flexibility to do justice to children,” said Bieri.
Writer Peter Bieri aka Pascal Mercier is dead
The Swiss writer Peter Bieri, known by his pseudonym Pascal Mercier, is dead. Hanser Verlag announced this on Tuesday. The Swiss became internationally famous with his novel “Night Train to Lisbon”.
“Peter Bieri, in his own name and under his nom de plume, has spent a lifetime showing how thoughts and stories inspire each other,” shared Jo Lendle, the author’s publisher. The philosopher held a professorship at the Free University in Berlin for many years. Peter Bieri invented the pseudonym Pascal Mercier for his literary work. “The philosopher learned from the narrator – and vice versa, his novels bring the great questions of humanity to life,” says Lendle.
Mercier’s best-known novel “Night Train to Lisbon” has been translated into more than 40 languages and made into a film. The novel tells of a journey to oneself. A lonely Swiss professor is driven to Portugal by a fateful encounter and a small book full of inspiring thoughts. Realizing that he had missed the adventure in his life, Professor Gregorius is looking for the author of the book in Lisbon. In detailed retrospectives, he learns more and more about the life that made him an uncompromising doctor, a resistance fighter against the Salazar dictatorship, a passionate lover and a philosopher. And Gregorius’ feeling of having missed his own chances is becoming ever clearer.
On the way to self-discovery
Peter Bieri’s academic work deals with the philosophy of mind, knowledge and language. As Pascal Mercier, he knew how to pack these philosophical themes into highly reflected novels with a light narrative voice. His stories are often about people reinventing themselves. In Peter Bieris alias Pascal Mercier’s last novel “The Weight of Words”, the protagonist, a translator, takes a different path in life when a fateful experience awakens the desire for a new direction in him: instead of translating the words of others, he now wants to find your own.
Peter Bieri found his own words too late. At the age of 51 he began to write literary works. The writer died in Berlin on June 27 at the age of 79.