Fiction – Novels, Stories, Graphic Novels

Maxim Biller: Im Kopf von Bruno Schulz © Kiepenheuer & Witsch Verlag, Cologne, 2013

Maxim Biller
Im Kopf von Bruno Schulz

In 1938, an odd stranger appears in the Polish city of Drohobycz. Upon his first appearance, his worn-out clothes and strong body odour make him suspicious; later he wears rouge on his cheeks, a moustache painted on with shoe polish and a blood-red Persian coat held together by a torn-off curtain cord. The stranger claims to be Thomas Mann, but he looks like his travesty.More ...
Larissa Boehning: Nichts davon stimmt, aber alles ist wahr © Verlag Galiani, Berlin, 2014

Larissa Boehning
Nichts davon stimmt, aber alles ist wahr

The lady’s name is Annemarie Funk and she lives in a villa in Blankenese with a view of the Elbe. She has cancer and a life expectancy of no more than six months. For different reasons, Matthias and Juliane ingratiate themselves with her. He hopes to come into a large inheritance and seizes the opportunity offered by the fact that Annemarie, the widow of a Lufthansa pilot, sees in him the son she never had. Juliane tries to look behind Matthias’ facade and is ultimately reminded of her duties by Annemarie, who wants to make sure that her memories are not lost.More ...
Marion Brasch: Wunderlich fährt nach Norden © S. Fischer Verlag, Frankfurt am Main, 2014

Marion Brasch
Wunderlich fährt nach Norden

The worst thing that could happen to drawing teacher Wunderlich in the comfortable middle of his life has already happened: Marie has left him. Yes, he is unhappy on that account. But no, he is not finished. He has life experience; he has a livelihood, an apartment, some savings. And, unexpectedly, he has this scorching summer all to himself now, since nobody else wants to make use of his time.More ...
Elias Canetti: Das Buch gegen den Tod © Carl Hanser Verlag, München, 2014

Elias Canetti
Das Buch gegen den Tod

At last, Cannetti’s second essayistic magnum opus alongside Crowds and Power has been published. (…) This book has everything – excerpts from his readings from far-flung sources alternate with aphoristic one-liners, short essays, self-observations, meditations, Jewish legends and newspaper cuttings, all of which serve his vendetta against death and are so well compiled that the reader is convinced that Canetti could not have done a better job of it himself. (…)More ...
Ann Cotten: Der schaudernde Fächer © Suhrkamp Verlag, Berlin, 2013

Ann Cotten
Der schaudernde Fächer

There are books one reads for the sake of the title alone. “Der schaudernde Fächer” (The Quivering Fan), the first story collection by poet Ann Cotten, who was born in 1982, is one of this rare group. A dazzling, nervous fan of stories does indeed unfold its art of seduction.More ...
Ulrike Draesner: Sieben Sprünge vom Rand der Welt © Luchterhand Literaturverlag, München, 2014

Ulrike Draesner
Sieben Sprünge vom Rand der Welt

An addiction to and the art of conformity, the urge to reconstruct, fear, loneliness, inner mutilation. Key terms are used very early on in this novel about primate researcher Eustachius Grolmann’s family history. It is a novel about the constitution of a generation that went through traumatic experiences between 1939 and 1945. In the case of the Grolmann family, who set off from Breslau to Bavaria with sodden cardboard suitcases on an icy January night, these were experiences of flight and expulsion. But also of the repercussions of personal involvement and the de facto guilt of having witnessed much, intervened little and possibly of having killed people oneself. (...)More ...
Hans Magnus Enzensberger: Tumult © Suhrkamp Verlag, Berlin, 2014

Hans Magnus Enzensberger
Tumult

The essence of the writer’s alchemy is to be found in this presentation of the sixties - the essayistic gift of observation, lyrical virtuosity, epic creative power and, above all, sardonic wit. After all, Enzensberger already published a previous Tribute to the Sixties – a cycle of poetry - back in 1964. This time, one might believe he is serious.More ...
Sherko Fatah: Der letzte Ort © Luchterhand Literaturverlag, München, 2014

Sherko Fatah
Der letzte Ort

Just recently it was just hot. Two travellers have got out of their air-conditioned jeep and are standing by the car, squinting as they get their bearings in the bright midday light. A moment later, other men descend on them. (…) Cotton sacks are pulled over their heads, they are dragged away and shipped off in other cars. They have been kidnapped. (…) Der letzte Ort (The Last Place) is set in locations that are certainly hard to pinpoint with any accuracy, namely in those areas around northern Iraq that have suddenly reappeared on the political map in recent months. (…)More ...
RMax Frisch: Aus dem Berliner Journal © Suhrkamp Verlag, Berlin, 2014

Max Frisch
Aus dem Berliner Journal

He became aware that he had perhaps only another “three or four usable years“, and that frightened him again and again when he woke up in the morning: “It cannot be discussed with anyone.“ He was full of doubts about his own writings and his language, which seemed to him to be too non-physical and non-sensual. He was afraid of memory loss and of a growing dearth of ideas with age.More ...
Olga Grjasnowa: Die juristische Unschärfe einer Ehe © Carl Hanser Verlag, München, 2014

Olga Grjasnowa
Die juristische Unschärfe einer Ehe

Baku-born Berliner Olga Gryasnova makes the turning point of her story the moment her self-confident heroine hits rock-bottom, a zero hour, from which, in the first part of the book, the chapters are numbered backwards to present a retrospective view. Then, the second part narrates what happened afterwards. The triangle is the determining geometrical shape in all this. The fragile fraught relationship at the heart of the action is triangular, and the settings of Baku, Moscow and Berlin also form a triangle.More ...
Nino Haratischwili: Das achte Leben (für Brilka) © Frankfurter Verlagsanstalt, Frankfurt am Main, 2014

Nino Haratischwili
Das achte Leben (für Brilka)

With this book, 31-year-old Haratischwili shows the courage to be great. The German writer with Georgian roots has written a family saga of epochal dimensions, a book about a “century that deceived and cheated everyone”. It is not only the narrative gesture and length of this book that are great, but also the human dramas staged by this author, an experienced theatre director. She sends the men and women of the Jaschi family onto the stage of a century as red as blood and as red as socialism and has them fight, dance, love and become pregnant, but also hate, flee and kill. Yet at the beginning, it all sounds so much like a fairy tale.More ...
Heinz Helle: Der beruhigende Klang von explodierendem Kerosin © Suhrkamp Verlag, Berlin, 2014

Heinz Helle
Der beruhigende Klang von explodierendem Kerosin

Solipsists in literature have rather gone out of fashion: figures who reduce the rest of the world to themselves and refuse to give it their recognition because the outer world is only a mere construction of consciousness anyway. The philosopher Max Stirner brought it to the point when he said “For me, nothing is higher than myself.” (...) All that is also to be found in Heinz Helle’s debut novel.More ...
Wolfgang Herrndorf: Bilder deiner großen Liebe © Rowohlt Berlin Verlag, Berlin, 2014

Wolfgang Herrndorf
Bilder deiner großen Liebe

Isa, the main character in Wolfgang Herrndorf’s unfinished novel Bilder deiner großen Liebe (Pictures of Your True Love) not only has a sense of the physics of displacement, but also of everything that travels along anywhere, openly or secretly, under water or at the roadside. After all, she is herself a tramp, a vagrant, who has either run away from a home or a loony bin – she prefers to leave that vague - sleeps outdoors and collects stories like windfalls. Herrndorf has not only provided his first-person narrator with wit and a basic knowledge of astrophysics. Isa also has the gift of magnetically attracting other peoples’ stories. (…)More ...
Wolfgang Herrndorf: Arbeit und Struktur © Rowohlt Berlin Verlag, Berlin, 2013

Wolfgang Herrndorf
Arbeit und Struktur

Since September 2010, everyone has been able to read how Wolfgang Herrndorf felt after learning in February of that year that his time was running out. His diagnosis was glioblastoma, a brain tumour, malignant, incurable.More ...
Thomas Hettche: Pfaueninsel © Kiepenheuer u. Witsch Verlag, Köln, 2014

Thomas Hettche
Pfaueninsel

Eyes and gazing are a motif that runs through Thomas Hettche’s wise, carefully researched and brilliantly narrated novel Pfaueninsel (Peacock Island). This book demonstrates that the writer, who was born in 1964, is one of the best stylists in contemporary German literature. (…) The story is set on Peacock Island near Potsdam, to which the title refers, during the period of epochal transformations in the Prussia of the enlightened century. (…)More ...
Ricarda Junge: Die letzten warmen Tage © S. Fischer Verlag, Frankfurt am Main, 2014

Ricarda Junge
Die letzten warmen Tage

Ricarda Junge achieves an amazing feat. From a Western point of view, she sketches out a panorama of German history between East and West Germany from the fifties to the present. She succeeds in creating clearly-defined characters devoid of clichés, yet shows social change and its causal connections in these individual biographies. The protagonist, Anna, the daughter of a Protestant pastor and a doctor, grows up in Wiesbaden-Sonnenberg in the 1990s. Behind the self-satisfied family façade, however, fault lines lurk.More ...
Navid Kermani: Große Liebe © Carl Hanser Verlag, Munich, 2014

Navid Kermani
Große Liebe

100 chapters altogether, timidly reflecting the great myth of “1001 Nights“. Numerically, each chapter counts just one page, but often a chapter covers two, three or more pages. The period of time described in the book is a little less than week, “from the beginning until the separation“. Yet these few days continue to this day, measured by the vehemence and presence of remembrance in the narrator’s life. Time and remembrance are an easily-deceived pair. (…)More ...
Michael Kleeberg: Vaterjahre © Deutsche Verlagsanstalt, München, 2014

Michael Kleeberg
Vaterjahre

Charly Renn will soon be forty, he starts a family, pursues a career and builds a house. Michael Kleeberg unfolds a run-of-the-mill ideal biography here. One assumes that this is the kind of life of which many people would dream. And for the most part, Michael Kleeberg presents it as a success, financially in any case, but also emotionally, and family and career-wise. What interests the author are the minor dramas of what is essentially a good life.More ...
Angelika Klüssendorf: April © Kiepenheuer & Witsch Verlag, Cologne, 2014

Angelika Klüssendorf
April

This is the continuation of a story told two and a half years ago by Klüssendorf, aged 55, in her novel “Das Mädchen” (The Girl). Scene by scene, in a breathless present tense, it puts a bright spotlight on a childhood and youth in the GDR of the sixties and early seventies.More ...
Karen Köhler: Wir haben Raketen geangelt. Erzählungen © Carl Hanser Verlag, München, 2014

Karen Köhler
Wir haben Raketen geangelt. Erzählungen

It is rare for a debut novel to be so frequently and so widely discussed. (…) It is equally rare for reviews to range from being so unanimously positive to effusive. That may be because in Köhler’s work, art and life merge, lending force to the literary result. While preoccupied with introspection, her stories have an external impact. Her book’s first-person narrator is a woman who is often occupied with her past and is sometimes thrown back onto it. Cowboy und Indianer (Cowboy and Indian), for example, is a short story about a trip with a chance acquaintance across the west of the United States during which the woman, aged perhaps thirty, relives the struggles of her childhood and youth. (…)More ...
Michael Köhlmeier: Zwei Herren am Strand © Carl Hanser Verlag, München, 2014

Michael Köhlmeier
Zwei Herren am Strand

This Austrian writer’s choice of Charlie Chaplin and Winston Churchill, of all people, as the heroes of his new novel Zwei Herren am Strand (Two Gentlemen on the Beach) is not due to these twentieth-century icons’ genius. Köhlmeier is interested in a different facet of these two Englishmen – their unusual friendship. Different as they were (…), they shared a dark secret - both suffered from depression. Recognising their affinity by chance at a party, Chaplin and Churchill made a pact.More ...
Uwe Kolbe: Die Lüge © S. Fischer Verlag, Frankfurt am Main, 2014

Uwe Kolbe
Die Lüge

Hildebrand Einzweck, the father, a former inland waterway worker who deserted his first wife and his son early on, was a proud defector from West to East right after the war, before becoming a routine womaniser in the name of the right cause.More ...
Martin Kordic: Wie ich mir das Glück vorstelle © Carl Hanser Verlag, Munich; 2014

Martin Kordić
Wie ich mir das Glück vorstelle

The Bosnian boy who was maimed at birth and who is not quite right in the head, “though a doctor will never find out why”, as he says himself, is the touching hero of Martin Kordic’s debut novel.More ...
Brigitte Kronauer: Gewäsch und Gewimmel © Klett-Cotta Verlag, Stuttgart, 2013

Brigitte Kronauer
Gewäsch und Gewimmel

Elsa Gundlach, a physiotherapist, is followed by her patients in her sleep. She massages a thousand stories out of her them - banal, intimate and horrific. (…) Brigitte Kronauer’s new novel “Gewäsch und Gewimmel” (Blabber and Crush) portrays a representative selection of jolly contemporaries: Eva Wilkens, Luise Wäns, writer Pratz and Ms. Fendel, as well as a horde of other people with postural impairments and backache.More ...
Per Leo: Flut und Boden © Klett-Cotta Verlag, Stuttgart, 2014

Per Leo
Flut und Boden

Family chemistry is an enigma. To whom is one close, for whom does one harbour antipathy? What if one’s grandfather was a Nazi criminal whose atrocities were collectively suppressed? What if his ideology envisaged his own brother’s sterilisation on account of a disease, as actually happened in this case in 1938?More ...
Monika Maron: Zwischenspiel © S. Fischer Verlag, Frankfurt am Main, 2013

Monika Maron
Zwischenspiel

The novel covers one day and is about a woman and a dog and a life. It begins in the morning in Winterfeldstraße in Berlin where the sky is still yellow and ends in the evening in a park shortly after sunset.More ...
Mawil: Kinderland © Reprodukt Verlag, Berlin, 2014

Mawil
Kinderland

Mirco is (…) an insecure boy who tries to conform to all expectations, even wearing the red scarf of his Pioneer uniform enthusiastically and joining in the shouting of the relevant slogans. And yet, thanks to his passion for table tennis, Mirco manages to assert himself against bigger teenagers and to find his niche in the school scheme of things, while in the background, unnoticed by himself and his friends, East Germany is spinning towards its demise. (…)
Mawil tells this autobiographically-based coming-of-age story against the backdrop of the imminent fall of the Berlin Wall with his characteristic carefree pleasure in narration and captivating wit.More ...
Thomas Melle: 3000 Euro © Rowohlt Berlin Verlag, Berlin, 2014

Thomas Melle
3000 Euro

Thomas Melle’s new novel is a brutal book. One that tells of the modern individual’s lack of a sense of security, of the humiliation that our state-of-the-art consumer society causes its members. That it sometimes spits them out onto the street and leaves them lying there. Like Anton. Anton is a homeless man who collects bottles. Once a highly-gifted student, he suddenly became a reject – how exactly, he cannot remember. (…)More ...
Katja Petrowskaja: Vielleicht Esther © Suhrkamp Verlag, Berlin, 2014

Katja Petrowskaja
Vielleicht Esther

“Whoever could, fled from Kiev”, it says there, and a curious episode follows in which the family only manages to escape because at the very last minute space is made for them on a truck where there was previously a plant: “It is thanks to this fig tree that I am alive”, concludes the narrator, because without it, her father might not have survived and thus, she might never have been born.More ...
Volker Reiche: Kiesgrubennacht © Suhrkamp Verlag, Berlin, 2013

Volker Reiche
Kiesgrubennacht (Graphic Novel)

Illustrator Volker Reiche, an institution in the field of thoughtfully entertaining pictorial narrative since his cartoon strip “Strizz” appeared in the Frankfurter Allgemeiner Zeitung, presents nearly 70 of his childhood memories in comic form.More ...
Silke Scheuermann: Skizze vom Gras. Gedichte © Schöffling und Co. Verlag, Frankfurt am Main, 2014

Silke Scheuermann
Skizze vom Gras. Gedichte

In seven chapters, creation stories are told in a kind of negative Genesis; from the perspectives of evolutionary biology, epigenetics and art history. These creation accounts, admittedly, tell almost exclusively of the disappearance of our species, and hardly at all of its possibilities for development. The furious rate of disappearance has consumed our anthropological foundations, and Silke Scheuermann’s poems view the results of this devastation. (…)More ...
Robert Seethaler: Ein ganzes Leben © Carl Hanser Berlin, Berlin, 2014

Robert Seethaler
Ein ganzes Leben

The actor, screenplay writer and author Robert Seethaler, who has written three novels, has specialised in characters who are outsiders. He has now succeeded in writing a book that (…) is more gripping and shattering than anything you have read in a long time. Without chasing punchlines, Ein ganzes Leben (A Whole Life) narrates quite calmly and concisely a biography with all its twists and turns and more than a few disasters. The striking thing about this novel is that he reverses the usual patterns.More ...
Lutz Seiler: Kruso © Suhrkamp Verlag, Berlin, 2014

Lutz Seiler
Kruso

It becomes clear from the outset wherein the great strength of Kruso lies, although it takes a little while for the reader to be drawn into the rhythmic eddy of Lutz Seiler’s language. Seiler is regarded as one of the country’s most significant poets and Kruso is his first novel. This is the elaborate interweaving of a timeless, mystical level that is laden, even overladen, with literary allusions and specific historical events. Ed sets off in the summer of 1989. The difficulties an East German citizen must have had on his way to Hiddensee, the country’s most northerly Baltic Sea outpost, past control posts, distrustful looks, moments of suspicion and harassment are symptomatic of the nervousness of the state apparatus.More ...
Saša Stanišic: Vor dem Fest © Luchterhand Literaturverlag, Munich, 2014

Saša Stanišić
Vor dem Fest

Nearly eight years have passed since his first novel was published. In his much-praised debut “Wie der Soldat das Grammofon repariert” (How the Soldier Repairs the Gramophone), Saša Stanišić told the story of his wartime childhood in Bosnia, the collapse of the world of his village, the family’s escape to Germany and the longing to return to a country that no longer existed.More ...
Botho Strauß: Herkunft © Carl Hanser Verlag, München, 2014

Botho Strauß
Herkunft

Seven Doors is the title of a play by Botho Strauß. No room has that many entrances and exits, only corridors do. And indeed, the doors provide only the hinges linking a round dance of scenes that lampoons the mechanism of boulevard theatre while at the same time giving it a metaphysical dimension. People walk into a corridor and in so doing, they step out of their biographies, playfully gaining distance from themselves in an undefined intermediate sphere. The corridor is presented as a dispensation from the obligation to have an identity.More ...
Marlene Streeruwitz: Nachkommen © S. Fischer Verlag, Frankfurt am Main, 2014

Marlene Streeruwitz
Nachkommen

Streeruwitz’ staccato style has perhaps never been as effective as it is here, for Nachkommen (Descendants) is a verbal delirium, a story that homes in on its main character, the young book prize nominee Nelia Fehn, whose mother has died (...). This is the tale of the plight of a 20-year-old writer who flies from the funeral of her grandfather and guardian in Vienna to a book prize gala in Frankfurt am Main.More ...
Feridun Zaimoglu: Isabel © Kiepenheuer & Witsch Verlag, Cologne, 2014

Feridun Zaimoglu
Isabel

Feridun Zaimoglu’s new novel is little more than skin and bones. The author made it resemble the angular body of his main character so precisely that not even a modicum of fat remains. Isabel rages so mercilessly against herself that she has what it would take to be a classical tragic heroine.More ...