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 [...]
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 [...]
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 [...]
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 [...]
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 [...]
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, [...]
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 [...]
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 [...]
I recently read two books of short stories by early 20th century German writers – Selected Stories of Robert Walser (actually a Swiss national, but writing in German), and Boys and Murderers by Hermann Ungar. These writers are almost equally strange. Hermann Ungar was a Czech Zionist who died at the age of 38 in [...]
Peirene Press has made quite a splash with its first three elegantly produced novels. All three are translations from European languages, all are short (approximately 125 pages) and they all share a precision of writing which might make other novels seem verbose and over-long.
Portrait of the Mother as a Young Woman, the third in [...]