19 September 07 | Chad W. Post | Comments

Some English samples of the German Book Prize finalists are now available online at Signandsight.com. Specifically, they have samples available from:

  • Lady Midday (Die Mittagsfrau) by Julia Franck (excerpt);
  • Angry Sheep (Böse Schafe) by Katja Lange-Müller (excerpt);
  • Wallner Begins to Fly (Wallner beginnt zu fliegen) by Thomas von Steinaecker (excerpt).

Hopefully they’ll have excerpts of the other three finalists online soon.

16 August 07 | Chad W. Post | Comments

The longlist for the 2007 German Book Prize was announced yesterday. (See the full list after the jump.)

Here’s what spokesperson for the judges, Felicitas von Lovenberg had to say about the selection of these 20 books from the 117 submitted titles:

“Without allowing ourselves to be seduced by celebrity or distracted by the pressure of originality, we have chosen twenty titles that reflect the unusual diversity and vitality in German-language literature as it presents itself this autumn in particular.”

Good to know that they stood up to the pressure of originality. It’s always a bad sign with originality counts for something.

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30 July 07 | Chad W. Post | Comments

Too bad directors aren’t always up to the task. Via signandsight.com:

Thomas Bernhard wrote his first full-length play “Ein Fest für Boris” ( A party for Boris) in 1966 for the Salzburg Festival, however the then president considered the grotesque drama about legless cripples “too dreary”: “We must take the nerves of our more sensitive guests into consideration.” Consequently the play was never performed there. Ulrich Weinzierl finds it fitting that it is opening the festival – which has proven capable of “swallowing much heavier fare” – this year, but is not entirely convinced of the approach of the young Berlin director Christiane Pohle. “In an attempt to do everything differently, she does a lot of damage. Pohle halves the number of cripples; the six of them loll about in lounge chairs, a combo plays in the background. The scene in which ‘Good’ gives the amputated Boris riding boots is eliminated, not replaced. And Boris doesn’t drum himself into death; he practices weebles until he dies, with Johannes’ help. It’s no wonder that ‘Good’ doesn’t ‘break out in horrible laughter’ – as Bernhard wanted it – but in fact is fighting back tears. And the sobbing finale is a massive belittlement, borderline kitsch.”

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The Nightwatches of Bonaventura
The Nightwatches of Bonaventura by Bonaventura
Reviewed by J. T. Mahany

Imagine the most baroque excesses of Goethe, Shakespeare, and Poe, blended together and poured into a single book: That is The Nightwatches of Bonaventura. Ophelia and Hamlet fall in love in a madhouse, suicidal young men deliver mournful and heartfelt. . .

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There’s little to say about a series of prose poems that willfully refuse to identify pronoun antecedents. Or perhaps there are a million things. The poems in Morse, My Deaf Friend— the chapbook by Miloš Djurdjević published by Ugly Duckling. . .

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The Crimson Thread of Abandon
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The Crimson Thread of Abandon is the first collection of short fiction available in English by the prolific Japanese writer and all-around avant-garde trickster Terayama Shūji, who died in 1983 at the age of 47. This collection would be important. . .

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