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).

....
The History of Silence
The History of Silence by Pedro Zarraluki
Reviewed by P. T. Smith

Pedro Zarraluki’s The History of Silence (trans. Nick Caistor and Lorenza García) begins with the narrator and his wife, Irene, setting out to write a book about silence, itself called The History of Silence: “This is the story of how. . .

Read More >

Flesh-Coloured Dominoes
Flesh-Coloured Dominoes by Zigmunds Skujiņš
Reviewed by P. T. Smith

There are plenty of reasons you can fail to find the rhythm of a book. Sometimes it’s a matter of discarding initial assumptions or impressions, sometimes of resetting oneself. Zigmunds Skujiņš’s Flesh-Coloured Dominoes was a defining experience in the necessity. . .

Read More >

Iraqi Nights
Iraqi Nights by Dunya Mikhail
Reviewed by Vincent Francone

In a culture that privileges prose, reviewing poetry is fairly pointless. And I’ve long since stopped caring about what the world reads and dropped the crusade to get Americans to read more poems. Part of the fault, as I’ve suggested. . .

Read More >

Three-Light Years
Three-Light Years by Andrea Canobbio
Reviewed by Tiffany Nichols

I would like to pose the argument that it is rare for one to ever come across a truly passive protagonist in a novel. The protagonist (perhaps) of Three Light-Years, Claudio Viberti, is just that—a shy internist who lives in. . .

Read More >

The Little Horse
The Little Horse by Thorvald Steen
Reviewed by P. T. Smith

The last five days of the eleventh-century Icelandic politician, writer of sagas, and famous murder victim Snorri Sturleleson (the Norwegian spelling, Snorre, is preserved in the book) make up Thorvald Steen’s most recently translated historical fiction, The Little Horse. Murdered. . .

Read More >

Guys Like Me
Guys Like Me by Dominique Fabre
Reviewed by Peter Biello

We all know Paris, or at least we think we know it. The Eiffel Tower. The Latin Quarter. The Champs-Élysées. The touristy stuff. In Dominique Fabre’s novel, Guys Like Me, we’re shown a different side of Paris: a gray, decaying. . .

Read More >

Birth of a Bridge
Birth of a Bridge by Maylis de Kerangal
Reviewed by Christopher Iacono

One hundred pages into Birth of a Bridge, the prize-winning novel from French writer Maylis de Kerangal, the narrator describes how starting in November, birds come to nest in the wetlands of the fictional city of Coca, California, for three. . .

Read More >