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: 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: The Winter of the Lions- Jan Costin Wagner

The Winter of the Lions comes into the unusual category of a Scandinavian crime novel written by a German. The writer, Jan Costin Wagner has the unusual distinction of being selected by the Goethe Institute as one of their “hand-picked Germans“, presumably because his books have been translated into quite a number of languages and [...]

Review: The Death of the Adversary – Hans Keilson

Hans Keilson died in 2011 at the age of 101.  A German Jew, Keilson and his non-Jewish wife fled to the Netherlands in 1936 to avoid Nazi persecution.  The couple separated during the war while Keilson went into hiding, undertaking work among the Jewish children separated from their parents.  He reunited with his wife after [...]

Review: The Beggar King – Oliver Pötzsch

AmazonCrossing is Amazon’s new venture into translating world literature into English.  An interview with Jeff Belle, the head of Amazon Crossing suggests that this is a genuine attempt to rectify the imbalance in translations (far more books are translated from English than into English).   No doubt there are also strong commercial motives for setting up [...]

Review: Sea of Ink – Richard Weihe

I haven’t reviewed anything from the excellent Peirene Press for some time and when Sea of Ink arrived through the post I was pleased to find another beautifully produced novella, this time about the life of Bada Shanren, the leading exponent of what we now call “Chinese brush painting”, from the Ming Dynasty.

Bada Shanren [...]

Review: My First Wife – Jakob Wassermann

My First Wife is a semi-autobiographical novel by German-Jewish writer, Jakob Wassermann (1874-1933), a prominent writer of the time, but little known in English speaking countries because of the lack of translations of his work.  As far as I can tell, this new translation by Michael Hoffman is the only novel published in English, [...]

Review: After Midnight – Irmgard Keun

I have wasted far too much time on Haruki Murakami’s new three volume 1Q84.  Its one of those books which is just good enough to make you want to carry on reading, but not quite good enough to make you feel pleased to be reading it.  Its of vast length, and I reached the end [...]

Review: Effi Briest – Theodor Fontane

I’ve linked to the Penguin edition of Effi Briest although the book is freely available in electronic format on Manybooks in what to me seems a perfectly good translation.

I’m not the only one reading Effi Briest at the moment – you will be able to read more about the book as part of the German [...]