Spring in Germany


Books this season a season or two ago: Fiction – signandsight

German storytellers made a strong showing this spring, right across the age spectrum. And foreign books in translation tell of violence in holiday camps in Sweden, refugee smugglers in Piedmont and down-and-out writers in the streets of Sofia.

Coming late to this, but what with “Rabelaisian word cascades” Werner Bräunig’s Rummelplatz (“Fairground”) – a novel set in a bismuth mine in the DDR, completed in 1965 – Antje Ravic Strubel’s trans-gender romance and coming-out novel peopled by fairies and the dead (Kältere Schichten der Luft – “Colder Layers of Air”) and the fourth of Peter Kurzeck’s seven attempts at “putting the whole world into poetry” (Oktober und wer wir selbst sind – “October and who we ourselves are”) – to name but three, German fiction seems to be in a healthy, and very intriguing state. English translations, please!

This feature from the very, very informative signandsight also refers to novels by Roberto Bolaño, Per Pettersen, Davide Longo (an Italian novelist compared to Cesare Pavese), the Bulgarian Vladimir Zarev, and Massimo Carlotto (the latter, incidentally, a member of terrorist group Lotta Continua), among others – all recently published in Germany.


  • Yordan Kosturkov’s Letter from Bulgaria, in Dalkey Archive’s CONTEXT magazine, is a good introduction to Bulgarian literary culture, and mentions Zarev.
  • “A success in Italy, selling 10,000 copies with the small independent publisher Marcos y Marcos, Davide Longo is considered one of Italy’s most talented young writers.” – [Kylee Doust Rights Agency blog.]

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