German fiction

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Go Went Gone by Jenny Erpenbeck (transl. Susan Bernofsky): Opening the doors

Regular readers of this blog will know I’m a fervent Remainer but I’m not a blindly naïve one. The EU is an institution ripe for reform but I’ve long believed that international issues are best tackled together. We Europeans failed dismally, however, to find a humane solution to the 2015 refugee crisis, dumping responsibility on …

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Where Love Begins by Judith Hermann (transl. Margot Bettauer Dembo): A comfortable life made uncomfortable

In the very early days of this blog I reviewed Judith Hermann’s beautifully put together set of interlinked short stories, Alice, under the banner ‘Small but Perfectly Formed’. The same heading could stand for her new novel, Where Love Begins, although its subject matter is quite different. Alice explored grief and how we endure it, …

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The End of Days by Jenny Erpenbeck (transl. Susan Bernofsky): The twentieth century through Eastern European eyes

I suspect The End of Days is a bit of a Marmite novel: you’ll either marvel at the way Jenny Erpenbeck deftly handles the constant shifts in narrative throughout this complex novel or you’ll despair of ever keeping track. Just as Jane Smiley sets out to tell the story of an American century through the …

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F by Daniel Kehlmann (transl. Carol Brown Janeway): A match made in heaven

I don’t read as much fiction in translation as I should but when I see a novel translated by Carol Brown Janeway in the publishing schedules I sit up and take notice. It was through her that I first discovered Daniel Khelmann’s fiction, beginning with the very fine Measuring the World about two eighteenth-century German …

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Look Who’s Back by Timur Vermes (transl. Jamie Bulloch): Who do you think you are kidding Mr Hitler?

Adolf Hitler wakes up with a dreadful headache. He’s a little bemused to find himself lying in what seems to be a wasteland. He picks himself up and makes his way to a news kiosk where he’s astonished to find that it’s August 30th 2011. He’s at a loss to know what’s happened but the …

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