17 July 08 | Chad W. Post | Comments

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).

....
Autobiography of a Corpse
Autobiography of a Corpse by Sigizmund Krzhizhanovsky
Reviewed by Simon Collinson

One of the greatest services—or disservices, depending on your viewpoint—Bertrand Russell ever performed for popular philosophy was humanizing its biggest thinkers in his History. No longer were they Platonic ideals, the clean-shaven exemplars of the kind of homely truisms that. . .

Read More >

A Musical Hell
A Musical Hell by Alejandra Pizarnik
Reviewed by Vincent Francone

The best way to review Alejandra Pizarnik’s slim collection, A Musical Hell, published by New Directions as part of their Poetry Pamphlet series, is to begin by stating that it is poetry with a capital P: serious, dense, and, some. . .

Read More >

Astragal
Astragal by Albertine Sarrazin
Reviewed by Tiffany Nichols

Upon completing Albertine Sarrazin’s Astragal I was left to wonder why it ever fell from print. Aside from the location, Astragal could pass as the great American novel. Its edginess and rawness capture the angst and desires we all had. . .

Read More >

Live Bait
Live Bait by Fabio Genovesi
Reviewed by Megan Berkobien

When my eyes first crossed the back cover of Fabio Genovesi’s novel Live Bait, I was caught by a blurb nestled between accolades, a few words from a reviewer for La Repubblica stating that the novel was, however magically, “[b]eyond. . .

Read More >

The Skin
The Skin by Curzio Malaparte
Reviewed by Peter Biello

“I preferred the war to the plague,” writes Curzio Malaparte in his 1949 novel, The Skin. He speaks of World War II and the destruction it has wrought on Italy, the city of Naples in particular. But the plague he. . .

Read More >

Love Sonnets & Elegies
Love Sonnets & Elegies by Louise Labé
Reviewed by Brandy Harrison

With the steady rise of feminist scholarship and criticism in recent decades, it is little wonder that the work of Louise Labé should be attracting, as Richard Sieburth tells us in the Afterword to his translation, a “wide and thriving”. . .

Read More >

Conversations
Conversations by César Aira
Reviewed by Tiffany Nichols

In Conversations, we find ourselves again in the protagonist’s conscious and subconscious, which is mostly likely that of Mr. César Aira and consistent with prototypical Aira style. This style never fails because each time Aira is able to develop a. . .

Read More >