Review: Look Who’s Back – Timur Vermes

So, it’s today’s Germany, and Adolf Hitler finds himself waking up early one afternoon on a patch of undeveloped land.

It was relatively quiet; I could not see any enemy aircraft flying overhead, or hear the thunder of artillery fire, there seemed to be no shelling nearby or explosions, no air-raid sirens.  It also struck [...]

Review: Tales from the Underworld – Hans Fallada

In recent years their has been a resurgence of interest in the mid-20th century German writer Hans Fallada. His novel Alone in Berlin was an unexpected success when Penguin published a new translation in 2010.  Around the same time Melville House published the novel Little Man What Now and then Penguin followed with A Small Circus [...]

Review: I Was Jack Mortimer – Alexander Lernet-Holenia

A new book from Pushkin Press is always welcome and in I Was Jack Mortimer, they have found a gem of a novel, written in 1933 but as fresh as anything written today.  The book, a mixture of farce, murder mystery and character study is set in Vienna.

The book’s author Alexander Lernet-Holenia had an [...]

Review: Anatomy of a Night – Anna Kim

Anna Kim was born in South Korea but was brought up in Germany where her father was appointed a Professor of Fine Arts.  She writes in German and her book Anatomy of a Night is one of the first four books to be published by new Berlin-based publisher Frisch and Co who specialise in [...]

Review: From the Fatherland With Love – Ryu Murakami

From the Fatherland With Love is a vast novel (664 pages), written on an epic scale, an alternative reality novel describing the events surrounding the invasion of and economically bankrupt Japan by an opportunistic North Korea.  It’s author, Ryu Murakami, wrote the book in 2005 when the Japanese economy had gone into decline.  By setting [...]

Revew: Balzac’s Omelette – Anka Muhlstein

This book ticks a number of boxes for me:

- It describes the literary world of Paris in the 19th century; – It homes in on Honore de Balzac, a writer I have been reading for the last two or three years; – It describes the history of French cooking and eating-out; – It’s very [...]

Review: Diary of a Man in Despair – Friedrich Reck

It would be easy to let the title of this book put you off it: Diary of a Man in Despair, does not sound as though it’s going to be an entertaining read, but I share the view of  Guy Savage of His Futile Preoccupations that this is an “extraordinary document”, a “unique testament” to the [...]

Review: Ljubljana Tales – New Europe Writers

Ljubljana Tales is published by New Europe Writers, a publishing enterprise dedicated to exploring the literary connections between the various European states, with an emphasis on those countries which were formally behind the Iron Curtain.

They have published several volumes of “Tales” including Warsaw Tales (now available for free download), Budapest Tales, Prague Tales [...]

Review: The Dance of the Seagull – Andrea Camilleri

I apologise that my email notification system is not working very well at the moment. While some subscribers are receiving emails for every post, some are receiving none. I have tried and failed to resolve this problem and am in the process of installing a new system to which I have to transfer all the [...]

Review: We’re Flying – Peter Stamm

Short stories come in so many different types you never know what you’re getting until you open the book and plough into the first two or three.  Sometimes the main purpose of them is entertainment as with collections of crime or humorous stories.  Other times they have a message, perhaps being little vignettes illustrating [...]