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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Berlin
Berlin by Aleš Šteger
Reviewed by Vincent Francone

Randall Jarrell once argued a point that I will now paraphrase and, in doing so, over-simplify: As a culture, we need book criticism, not book reviews. I sort of agree, but let’s not get into all of that. Having finished. . .

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The Gun
The Gun by Fuminori Nakamura
Reviewed by Will Eells

Like any good potboiler worth its salt, Fuminori Nakamura’s The Gun wastes no time setting up its premise: “Last night, I found a gun. Or you could say I stole it, I’m not really sure. I’ve never seen something so. . .

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This Place Holds No Fear
This Place Holds No Fear by Monika Held
Reviewed by Lori Feathers

Heiner Resseck, the protagonist in Monika Held’s thought-provoking, first novel, This Place Holds No Fear, intentionally re-lives his past every hour of every day. His memories are his treasures, more dear than the present or future. What wonderful past eclipses. . .

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The Room
The Room by Jonas Karlsson
Reviewed by Peter Biello

If you’ve ever worked in a corporate office, you’ve likely heard the phrase, “Perception is reality.” To Björn, the office worker who narrates Jonas Karlsson’s novel The Room, the reality is simple: there’s a door near the bathroom that leads. . .

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Thérèse and Isabelle
Thérèse and Isabelle by Violette Leduc
Reviewed by Kaija Straumanis

I recently listened to Three Percent Podcast #99, which had guest speaker Julia Berner-Tobin from Feminist Press. In addition to the usual amusement of finally hearing both sides of the podcast (normally I just hear parts of Chad’s side. . .

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On the Edge
On the Edge by Rafael Chirbes
Reviewed by Jeremy Garber

Let’s not deceive ourselves, man is nothing very special. In fact, there are so many of us that our governments don’t know what to do with us at all. Six billion humans on the planet and only six or seven. . .

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Rambling Jack
Rambling Jack by Micheál Ó Conghaile
Reviewed by Vincent Francone

“Rambling Jack—what’s that?”
“A novel. Novella, I guess.”
“Yeah, it looks short. What is it, a hundred pages?”
“Sorta. It’s a duel language book, so really, only about… 50 pages total.”
“50 pages?”
“Including illustrations.”
“And this—what. . .

Read More >