The German Book Office recently chose Eros by Helmut Krausser as its book pick for July.
Krausser’s book—which doesn’t actually release until mid-August, though you could pre-order copies now—is coming out from Europa Editions and sounds pretty interesting:
Alexander von Brücken, an ageing millionaire, invites an unknown author into his mansion to record his life story. From there the novel plunges back into Germany’s past when Hitler’s Third Reich is on the brink of failure. In an air raid shelter, Alexander falls desperately in love with a girl named Sofie. She flees with her family, but she is never able to completely escape from Alexander’s grasp. Odd coincidences and fortuitous circumstances find their way into Sofie’s life, and Alexander with his wealth and power lurks in the background. Krausser examines the limits of wealth and the limitless power of unrequited love in this novel. Despite the vast geographical and chronological spaces that the story sweeps through, Alexander’s obsession with Sofie shines more vividly than all the surrounding elements. With the unknown author narrating this seductive and darkly fascinating story, the reader also wonders if Alexander’s perspective and telling of his past have been skewed by years of longing and frustration.
This is the only the second of Krausser’s books to make it’s way into English, the first being The Great Bagarozy. Looking at the stats, I know that there’s a one in a million chance (you know, give or take a few hundred thousand) for a foreign author to be published in English, yet this one sort of surprises me.
In addition to Eros and The Great Bagarozy, Krausser has a book called Fat World (a sample translation of which has been making the rounds) and another called Ultrachronos (or simply UC) that’s described as such:
UC, or Ultrachronos, is a certain way of perceiving the world shortly before death: it is a moment, a single instant, wherein you watch your entire life, but not just the events that actually happened, you also see the events which could have happened. Krausser’s new novel Ultrachronos is both a tale of a man’s seemingly unshakeable existence – as a successful conductor, as an arrogant adulterer – and the story of a man viewing his own Ultrachronos. The reader sees the main character as he flees from his past – and as he meets Kurthes, a writer and guru, who seems to know everything about him and who wants to give him an eerie part in his new book…Helmut Krausser, the critically acclaimed author of several novels, theater-plays, poems, diaries, and opera libretti, works with the instruments of a crime novel, but this book goes much deeper into the borderland of our existence.
It’s possible Europa is doing more of his titles . . . Regardless, Eros sounds intriguing and is definitely something we’ll review as soon as it’s available (you know, give or take a month or two).
Prose translators will likely disagree, but I believe translating poetry requires a significant level of talent, a commitment to the text, and near mania, all of which suggests that the undertaking is the greatest possible challenge. The task is to. . .
The biggest issues with books like The Subsidiary often have to do with their underpinnings—when we learn that Georges Perec wrote La Disparition without once using the letter E, we are impressed. Imagine such a task! It takes a high. . .
Following The Infatuations, Javier Marías’s latest novel seems, like those that have preceded it, an experiment to test fiction’s capacity to mesmerize with sombre-sexy atmospheres and ruminative elongated sentences stretched across windowless walls of paragraphs. Thus Bad Begins offers his. . .
Death by Water, Kenzaburo Oe’s latest novel to be translated into English, practically begs you to read it as autobiography. Like The Changeling, as well as many other works not yet released in English, Death by Water is narrated in. . .
Jocelyne Saucier’s Twenty-One Cardinals is about the type of unique, indestructible, and often tragic loyalty only found in families. For a brief but stunningly mesmerizing 169 pages, Twenty-One Cardinals invited me in to the haunting and intimate world of the. . .
We know so very little; so little that what we think to be knowledge is hardly worth reckoning with at all; instead we ought to settle for being pleasantly surprised if, on the edge of things, against all expectations, our. . .
Many of Virginie Despentes’s books revolve around the same central idea: “To be born a woman [is] the worst fate in practically every society.” But this message is nearly always packaged in easy-to-read books that fill you with the pleasure. . .