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 Antiquarian
The Antiquarian by Gustavo Faverón Patriau
Reviewed by P.T. Smith

Gustavo Faverón Patriau’s The Antiquarian, translated by Joseph Mulligan, is a genre-blending novel, a complete immersion that delves into a lesser-used niche of genre: horror, gothic, the weird. There are visual horrors, psychological ones, and dark corners with threats lurking.. . .

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Paradises
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Paradises by cult Argentinian author Iosi Havilio is the continuation of his earlier novel, Open Door, and tells the story of our narrator, a young, unnamed Argentinian woman.

The very first sentence in Paradises echoes the opening of Camus’s The Outsider. . .

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Two Crocodiles
Two Crocodiles by Fyodor Dostoevsky; Felisberto Hernández
Reviewed by Sara Shuman

This pearl from New Directions contains one short story from Russian literary master Fyodor Dostoevsky (translated by Constance Garnett) and one short story from Uruguayan forefather of magical realism Felisberto Hernández (translated by Esther Allen). Both pieces are entitled “The. . .

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