German Book Prize Shortlisters in Translation

Erpenbeck_Gehen_ging_gegangen_CoverThe German Book Prize short list is out today! Three women, three Swiss writers and four with other books published in English in the last three years have made the cut. In my very subjective order of preference, they are:

Jenny Erpenbeck’s Gehen, ging, gegangen (Go, Going, Gone) is certainly the most topical. Three men are on hunger strike on Alexanderplatz in front of Berlin’s town hall. They are Black, they speak English, French, Italian, and other languages that nobody understands – they won’t say where they are from, but they want to stay and work. A retired professor gets to know them and enters their world.The author has already won multiple awards this year for The End of Days in Susan Bernofsky’s English translation.

Swiss author Monique Schwitter’s Eins im Andern (One in the Other) is also very contemporary, but more personal. It opens with the author googling her ex-lover instead of writing, then delving back into the history of 12 ex-lovers. Her short story collection Goldfish Memory, published this March by Parthian Books in Eluned Gramich’s English translation, looks a really great read.

“Three months are up: my lady will take a bath”. Is Inger-Maria Mahlke’s Wie Ihr wollt (As You Wish) the German Wolf Hall? It enters the world of the Tudors from the perspective of Mary Grey, cousin to the reigning Queen Elizabeth I. It’s billed as a “feminist deconstruction” of the historical novel. Her Silberfischchen (Little Silverfish) about the encounter between a widowed ex-policeman and a Polish woman also looks interesting.

She’s not available in English yet, but she soon might be. Will Frank Witzel?GoldfishMemory_Schwitter

His Die Erfindung der Roten Armee Fraktion durch einen manisch-depressiven Teenager im Sommer 1969. (The Invention of the Red Army Faction by a Manic-Depressive Teenager in the Summer of 1969) is a very German bulky novel in broad sweep from the impact of WWII forward to 1989. For more on this theme, German readers can try his Die Bundesrepublik Deutschland (2009), a conversation with Thomas Meinecke and Klaus Walter about 60 years of music and popular culture in the West German Federal Republic.

From another Swiss writer, Ulrich Peltzer’s Das bessere Leben (The Better Life) is a thriller that dives headfirst into 21st century global capitalism. Try his Part of the Solution (tr. Martin Chalmers, Seagull Books 2012) about a journalist investigating a left wing radical group in 2003 Berlin.

And finally one more Swiss writer! Rolf Lappert, Über den Winter (Through the Winter) is a big “family saga cum social novel” about a middle-aged artist in New York. His Islands of the Dying Light (tr. Eugene Hayworth, Owl Canyon Press 2012) also faces love and death, stretching from Ireland to the Philippines.

You can read and listen to extracts of all the books in German on the prize website, which is also in English and French.

Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Posted in books, literature

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

advent Alice in Wonderland American And Other Stories Antonia Lloyd-Jones Arabic Argentina Barańczak Beowulf Best Translated Book Award Bible books Brazil Brazilian Portuguese British British Library Buddhism Central Europe Children's Books Children's literature Chinese Christmas Christmas Carols Clare Cavanagh Clarice Lispector Contemporary Czesław Miłosz Dari Edinburgh Festival English Estonian Facebook Fantasy Farsi Fiction Finland Finland 100 Finnish Flemish Free Word Centre French friends gender George Szirtes German Greek Hebrew Herbert Lomas Herta Müller history Hobbit Hungarian Idioms Illustration international International Translation Day Italian J. R. R. Tolkien Japanese Jenny Erpenbeck Jewish Johanna Sinisalo Korean Language language learning Languages Latin left-handed Literature Lola Rogers Lord of the Rings Mabinogion Man Booker International Prize Maori Maria Turtschaninoff Mirkka Rekola Moomins New Year Nobel Prize Old English Oxford English Dictionary PEN Translation Prize Persian Philip Boehm Phoneme Media Pippi Longstocking Poetry Poetry Translation Centre Polish Portuguese pubilc libraries Queer Roald Dahl Romanian Rosa Liksom Russian Ryszard Kapuściński Salla Simukka Seamus Heaney Shakespeare Short Stories Slovene Spanish Stanisław Barańczak Susan Bernofsky Svetlana Alexievich Swedish Switzerland Terhi Ekebom Thomas Teal Tibetan Tove Jansson Translation translator Translators Without Borders Turkey Valentine's Day Wales Warsaw Welsh Wisława Szymborska Witold Szabłowski Women in Translation Month words Words without Borders

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Follow found in translation on WordPress.com
%d bloggers like this: