Wednesdays Are Wunderbar – German Literature Month Giveaway – Job by Joseph Roth

Initially we had planned two giveaways for  German Literature Month but now, thanks to the generosity of another editor, there is additional one today.

I’m particularly pleased as this gives me the opportunity to introduce archipelago books who are offering the title for this giveaway. Archipelago books have one of the most interesting catalogs of literature in translation I have seen so far. They offer great titles from all over the world.

I also really love their motto

a not-for-profit literary press dedicated to promoting cross-cultural exchange through international literature in translation

If you don’t know them yet it’s worth having a look at their site. Some of their books are prize winners, also in the category “Best translation”.

For German Literature Month I have the opportunity to give away one copy of one of the classics of Austrian literature, Joseph Roth’s Job.

Job is the tale of Mendel Singer, a pious, destitute Eastern-European Jew and children’s Torah teacher whose faith is tested at every turn. His youngest son seems to be incurably disabled, one of his older sons joins the Russian Army, the other deserts to America, and his daughter is running around with a Cossack. When he flees with his wife and daughter, further blows of fate await him. In this modern fable based on the biblical story of Job, Mendel Singer witnesses the collapse of his world, experiences unbearable suffering and loss, and ultimately gives up hope and curses God, only to be saved by a miraculous reversal of fortune.

As you can see, this is a novel that comes with high praise.

“A beautifully written, and in the end uplifting, parable for an era of upheaval . . . Job, opened to any page, offers something of beauty. . . Ross Benjamin’s excellent new translation gives us both the realism and the poetry.”
The Quarterly Conversation
“The totality of Joseph Roth’s work is no less than a tragédie humaineachieved in the techniques of modern fiction.”
Nadine Gordimer
“Joseph Roth was a permanent novelist. His Job was a worthy precursor of that masterpiece [The Radetzky March] . . . [Job is] both immensely sorrowful and finally strangely hopeful.
Harold Bloom
Jobis more than a novel and legend, it is a pure, perfect poetic work, which is destined to outlast everything that we, his contemporaries, have created and written. In unity of construction, in depth of feeling, in purity, in the musicality of the language, it can scarcely be surpassed.”
Stefan Zweig
“This life of an everyday man moves us as if someone had written of our lives, our longings, our struggles. Roth’s language has the discipline and rigor of German Classicism. A great and harrowing book that no one can resist.”
Ernst Toller
“Job is perfect. . . . a novel as lyric poem.”
Joan Acocella
If you are interested in reading this book, just leave a comment.

The competition is US only. The winner will be announced on Monday October 22 2012.

Wednesdays Are Wunderbar – German Literature Month Giveaway II – The Winners

Busy random org has done its job and here are the winners of the second give away of  German Literature Month.

Susanna has won Alex Capus – Léon and Louise 

Judith (Leeswammes’ Blog) has won Daniel Glattauer – Love Virtually

TBM (50 Year Project) has won Alissa Walser – Mesmerized

Neer (A Hot Cup of Pleasure) is the winner of Andrea Maria Schenkel – The Murder Farm

Novia (Polychrome Interest) is the winner of The Brothers Grimm – Fairy Tales

Vishy (Vishy’s Blog) has won Zoran Drvenkar – Tell Me What You See

Happy reading to all of you. Please send me your addresses via beautyisasleepingcat at gmail dot com

Wednesdays Are Wunderbar – German Literature Month Giveaway II

As promised here is the second giveaway of German Literature Month. While the first one was focussing on novellas and literary books, this one combines literary books and genre. Alissa Walser’s novel is clearly historical, it still is a literary novel, the same goes for Léon and Louise and Love Virtually, both are love stories but not pure genre. Things are different when it comes to Andrea Maria Schenkel. Hers is a crime novel, no doubt. One of the most interesting new German genre writers is Zoran Drvenkar who writes a lot of different genres. Thriller, YA, children’s books and many more. The book I’ve chosen is a genre blend which is extremely successful in Germany among adults and young adults alike.

I’d like to thank Haus Publishing for offering Léon and Louise and MacLehose Press for Alissa Walser’s novel Mesmerized. Lizzy is offering Love Virtually and Grimm’s Fairy Tales and I’m contributing The Murder Farm and Tell Me What You See.

I hope the blurbs will help you decide which of the books you would like to win.

Love Story

Alex Capus – Léon and Louise

Summer 1918. The First World War is drawing to a close when Léon Le Gall, a French teenager from Cherbourg who has dropped out of school and left home, first meets and falls in love with Louise Janvier. Severely wounded by a German artillery attack they are separated, both mistakenly believing each other to be dead. Ten years later, while travelling on the Paris Métro, Léon – now married – briefly catches sight of a girl who bears a strong resemblance to Louise, the first love he has never forgotten. He goes in search of her at the insistence of his wife Yvonne. The couple are briefly reunited, but part again with a heavy heart as Louise refuses to destroy Léon’s marriage. And then another war tears them apart. Paris is occupied by the Germans, for whom Léon indirectly works at the headquarters of the Paris CID. Louise, an employee of the Banque de France, is shipped off to French West Africa with the bank’s gold reserves. Narrated by Léon’s grandson, Léon and Louise is the story of an enduring passion that survives the vicissitudes of world history and the passage of time, spanning more than forty years. But it is far more than this. The long-separated lovers are flesh and blood characters vividly captured in complex human relationships and real-life situations: in German-occupied Paris, where Léon wages a lone battle against the abhorrent tasks imposed on him by the SS and his wife fights stubbornly for her family’s survival; and in the wilds of Africa, where Louise confronts the hardships of her primitive environment with courage and humour.

Daniel Glattauer – Love Virtually

It begins by chance: Leo receives emails in error from an unknown woman called Emmi. Being polite he replies, and Emmi writes back. A few brief exchanges are all it takes to spark a mutual interest in each other, and soon Emmi and Leo are sharing their innermost secrets and longings. The erotic tension simmers, and it seems only a matter of time before they will meet in person. But they keep putting off the moment – the prospect both unsettles and excites them. And, after all, Emmi is happily married. Will their feelings for each other survive the test of a real-life encounter?


Alissa Walser – Mesmerized

Mozart’s Vienna. A crucible for scientific experimentation and courtly intrigue, as Europe’s finest minds vie for imperial favour. In a colourful, chaotic private hospital that echoes with the shrieks of hysterical patients, Franz Anton Mesmer is developing a series of controversial cure-alls for body and mind. When he is asked to help restore the sight of a blind musical prodigy favoured by the Empress herself, he senses that fame, and even immortality, is within his grasp. Mesmer knows that he will have to gain her trust if he is to open her eyes. But at what cost to her fragile talent? And will their intimacy result in scandal?


Andrea Maria Schenkel – The Murder Farm

A whole family has been murdered with a pickaxe. They were old Danner the farmer, an overbearing patriarch, his put-upon devoutly religious wife, and their daughter Barbara Spangler, whose husband Vincenz left her after fathering her daughter, Marianne. Also murdered was the Danners’ new maidservant, Marie, who was regarded as slightly simple. Despite the brutal nature of the killings and the small village where it has taken place, the police have no leads. Officially the crime is unsolved. And then a former resident returns home… The Murder Farm is an unconventional detective story. The author interweaves testament from the villagers, an oblique view of the murderer, occasional third-person narrative pieces and passages of pious devotion. The narrator leaves the village unaware of the truth, only the reader is able to reach the shattering conclusion.

Fairy Tales

The Brothers Grimm – Fairy Tales

Is a collection of well-loved fairytales by the brothers Grimm. Stories include Hansel and Gretel, Tom Thumb, Little Red Riding Hood, Sleeping Beauty, Rumpelstiltskin, Snow White, the Frog Prince, Rapunzel, The Elves and The Show Maker and many more.

YA/Horror/Ghost story

Zoran Drvenkar – Tell Me What You See

Berlin. The dead of night. Sixteen-year-old Alissa and her best friend Evelin make their secret Christmas pilgrimage to Alissa’s father’s grave. In the graveyard, Alissa falls through thick snow into an underground crypt. Searching for a way out, she discovers something else: out of the lid of a small coffin coils a strange black plant. Drawn closer, Alissa sees its roots embedded in a young child’s heart. This chance encounter sets off a chain of nightmarish events that throw her life into turmoil. Haunted by angels, stalked by her ex-boyfriend, only with Evelin’s help can Alissa reclaim her sanity and discover the truth about her frightening new gift.
If you are interested in any of the books, just leave a comment indicating which one(s) you would like to read.

The competition is open internationally. The winners will be announced on Wednesday October 10 2012.


Wednesdays Are Wunderbar – German Literature Month Giveaway I

Those who followed German Literature Month last year know that Wednesdays are wunderbar because they are giveaway days!

This year we are splitting the giveaways into two batches. The first, this one, is a goody bag designed to complement the first half of the month during which we’ll be reading novellas and literary novels. It’s hosted by Lizzy, so if you are interested in winning one of the following books, make sure to visit her blog soon.

The first two novellas are courtesy of Pushkin Press, the next two are offered by Haus Publishing. The only novel among the titles,  The Bridge of the Golden Horn, is my contribution.

Burning Secret – Stefan Zweig (1913)
Set in an Austrian spa where a lonely twelve-year-old is befriended by a charming and enigmatic baron. As the boy gradually becomes infatuated with him, the older man heartlessly brushes him aside to turn his seductive attention to the boy’s mother.

Fear – Stefan Zweig (1913)
Irene Wagner has been married for eight years and is tired of her bourgeois and predictable existence as wife and mother. She starts an affair with an up-and-coming young pianist but finds herself being blackmailed by her lover’s former mistress. Irene is soon in the grip of an astonishing fear.

A Minute’s Silence – Siegfried Lenz (2009)
The delicately paced structure of Lenz’s novella begins with the memorial ceremony for a popular young English mistress, Stella Petersen, seamlessly alternating between this scene and eighteen-year-old Christian’s memory of a summer love affair with his tutor. They keep their mutual attraction concealed at school and as the season goes on the lovers continue to meet discreetly. Tragedy strikes when Stella goes on holiday with friends, sailing around the Danish islands. As the yacht returns to Hirtshafen at the end of the trip, a storm breaks. Before Christian’s eyes his beloved is flung overboard and fatally wounded. Lenz was twenty or thirty pages into writing A Minute’s Silence when his wife of fifty-six years died. Grief-stricken, he suffered from a serious bout of writer’s block and it seemed he would never finish the novel. With the passage of time, Lenz found that he could write again and complete this tender love story. Despite the obvious distance and difference of Lenz’s own long marriage and the brief, youthful passion of Christian for Stella, Lenz has wrought a well-aimed response to Auden’s famous request: ‘Tell me the truth about love.’

On the Edge – Markus Werner (2004)
When the cynical divorce lawyer Thomas Clarin finds himself at a table on the terrace of the Bellavista Hotel beside Thomas Loos, an eccentric, ageing philologist, hey strike up an unlikely conversation. Soon Clarin’s questions tease out stories from Loos’ past, and as both men slowly reveal more of themselves they are forced to question their opinions on love and life. The men are opposites; they intrigue and repel each other. But as the mystery of Loos’ past deepens, we begin it wonder if all as it seems.

The Bridge of the Golden Horn – Emine Sevqi Ozdamar (2002)
The Bridge of the Golden Horn is a coming-of-age novel, a sentimental education that is also a political, cultural and intellectual one. In 1966, at the age of 16, the unnamed heroine lies about her age and signs up as a migrant worker in Germany. She leaves Istanbul, works on an assembly line in West Berlin making radios, and lives in a women’s factory hostel. But this novel is not about the problems of assembly line work – it’s a witty, picaresque account of a precocious teenager refusing to become wise, of a hectic four years lived between Berlin and Istanbul, of a young woman who is obsessed by theatre, film, poetry and left-wing politics. These are sometimes grim years, particularly in Turkey, but they also have a hope and optimism that seem almost unimaginable today.


Now all you have to do is visit Lizzy’s blog.

The competition is open internationally.