Welcome to German Literature Month

I can’t believe it’s already November. And I can equally not believe how unprepared I am this year. Usually I’ve already read a few books for German Literature Month before it even began. Or at least I’ve made a long list. Not so this time. I think I got a bit discouraged when I realized that most of the books I was drawn to haven’t been translated yet. To review or not to review a book that hasn’t been translated is always a dilemma. Not just during German Literature Month. In the last couple of months I decided mostly against it. I have a feeling, I won’t be able to do that this month. But we will see.

For now I only know that I will be discussing Lion Feuchtwanger’s The Opperman’s, which is part of the Literature and War Readalong. I’ll tell you more about it shortly.

And here is a tiny list.

The Nameless Day – Der namenlose Tag by Friedrich Ani

After years on the job, police detective Jakob Franck has retired. Finally, the dead with all their mysteries will no longer have any claim on him. Or so he thinks. On a cold autumn afternoon, a case he thought he’d long put behind him returns to his life and turns it upside down. The Nameless Day tells the story of that twenty-year-old case, which began with Franck carrying the news of the suicide of a seventeen-year-old girl to her mother, and holding her for seven hours as, in her grief, she said not a single word. Now her father has appeared, swearing to Franck that his daughter was murdered. Can Franck follow the cold trail of evidence two decades later to see whether he’s telling the truth? Could he live with himself if he didn’t? A psychological crime novel certain to thrill fans of Henning Mankell and Jo Nesbo, The Nameless Day is a masterpiece, a tightly plotted story of contemporary alienation, loss, and violence.

Swallow Summer by Larissa Boehning

Two music producers pack up their studio along with their dreams of ever making it in the industry after too many bands fail to pay their bills…
A woman takes up an invitation to visit an ex-lover in Arizona, only to find his apartment is no bigger than a motel room…
A former drama student runs into an old classmate from ten years before, hardly recognising the timid creature he has become…
Each character in Larissa Boehning’s debut collection experiences a moment where they re forced to confront how differently things turned out, how quickly ambitions were shelved, or how easily people change. Former colleagues meet up to reminisce about the failed agency they used to work for; brothers-in-law find themselves co-habiting long after the one person they had in common passed away; fellow performers watch as their careers slowly drift in opposite directions. Boehning’s stories offer a rich store of metaphors for this abandonment: the downed tools of a deserted East German factory, lying exactly where they were dropped the day Communism fell; the old, collected cameras of a late father that seem to stare, wide-eyed, at the world he left behind. And yet, underpinning this abandonment, there is also great resilience. Like the cat spotted by a demolition worker in the penultimate story that sits, unflinching, as its home is bulldozed around it, certain spirits abide.

Der Autor als Souffleur by Undine Gruenter (not translated)

 

I hope you’ve got your books ready and are looking forward to joining us.

Don’t forget the two readalongs:

On 15th November, the date of the Warwick Prize award, Lizzy will be discussing Yoko Tawada’s Memoirs of A Polar Bear.

On 29th November, I will discuss Lion Feuchtwanger’s The Oppermanns as part of her War and Literature series.

49 thoughts on “Welcome to German Literature Month

  1. Many thanks for co-hosting this, Caroline. It’s always interesting to see what you and others will be reading. With any luck I’ll have a suitable review to post in a week or two. Looking forward to it.

  2. Hi Caroline, just attempted to link my first book for the month, made a mistake with my link, but got it right second time, ie first will need to be removed but I don’t know how to do this.
    I was unable to leave a comment using my wordpress address
    Have a good month
    Pat

  3. Thank you for co-hosting and apologies for very nearly forgetting about it, although it’s one of the events I look forward to all year! (What can I say? Advanced age and new job conspiring against me, I think).

  4. I just started reading Berlin Alexanderplatz on my ride into work today. It’ll probably take me most of the month since I’ll be reading it in French et je suis un mauvais étudiant. 🙂 Anyway, thanks to you and Lizzy for hosting German Lit Month again–always a good time!

  5. Thanks for co-hosting this. I have just started reading Wolf Among Wolves by Hans Fallada, which is going to take the whole month to read, I think! I’ll look forward to seeing everyone else’s posts too. 🙂

  6. So happy that my favourite reading event is back! So excited! Thanks so much for hosting German Literature Month with Lizzy, Caroline! I love the books on your reading list! I am particularly captivated by ‘Swallow Summer’ by Larissa Boehning. It looks so fascinating! It makes me remember Judith Hermann’s ‘Summerhouse, Later’. I haven’t made any reading list for GLM yet. Just took down a couple of books from my shelf. Hoping to add more tomorrow. Hoping to wing it day by day, and book by book 🙂 Happy reading!

    • I’m happy you’re joining us. 🙂
      Larissa Boehning has been compared to Judith Herrmann. Critics said the themes and charcaters were similar but Boehnings writing is much better. I’m curious to say the least.

      • This is so wonderful, Caroline! I loved Judith Hermann’s book! I will add Larissa Boehning’s book to my TBR list. Happy reading! Can’t wait to hear your thoughts!

  7. Yes, I have books! Specifically, Effi Briest and Peirene Press’ Dance On The Canal about life in East Germany. I’m especially excited about that one as I lived in Germany when the wall was still up. Thanks for hosting as ever!! xo

    • I’m so glad to hear that. I hope you will like Effie Briest as much as I did. And I’m interrsted to hear how ou like the Rereine title. I had no idea you lived in Germany.

  8. Thank you, Caroline! I am participating too this time. I just bought a copy of ‘Alone in Berlin’. I am currently reading ‘Three Men In A Boat’. I shall hop over to ‘Alone in Berlin’ right after this. I look forward to reading it, and reading other reviews. Thank you! Happy November!

  9. My God, completely forgot about this. Definitely joining. I almost didn’t realize it’s November. Time flies. Have a couple of books around the house I might read.

  10. As usual, I have way to many books for one month. 🙂 I did break down and got a copy of The Oppermanns in English, since I couldn’t find my German edition. I’m not sure I’ll be able to read Memoirs of a Polar Bear in time for the discussion. I am looking forward to your review of Swallow Summer.

    • I have to skip Lizzy’s readalong. I ordered Swallow Summer instead. I thought that was her readalong title.
      I have too many books to chose from as well.
      I’m glad we’ll be reading The Oppermanns together. 🙂

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  12. Hi Caroline, I’m afraid I still cannot comment on the GVII site, I’ve messed up my link 16 and re-published it as link 17 (Bella Germania), i guess the first one of the two needs to be taken down if possible

    Pat

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