Fiction – Novels, Novellas, Short Stories

Gerhard Henschel

© Hoffmann & Campe Verlag, Hamburg, 2017 Gerhard Henschel: Arbeiterroman © Hoffmann & Campe Verlag, Hamburg, 2017This novel, like the six previous volumes of Gerhard Henschel’s chronicle of post-war West German prosperity, is about the glue that holds together a typical middle-class family, his family… (…). Since his grandparents‘ generation, everyday life in Henschel’s family has been measured and banished, either in diaries about building projects and love affairs, photo albums or long letters.
From this material that Henschel has gathered and keeps tidily in his cellar, and intensive research in city libraries about products, political events and programmatic contemporary publications, he reconstructs his past at a pace of “one and a half pages a day“, aiming to present everything as it was, “as close to one to one as possible“. Those involved are even given “their” passages to check so they can correct what they know better.
Thus is created the alluring sense of being there, and twentieth-century Germany is presented in its pleasantly diverse normality as if in a new guise. The curse of authenticity that leads other authors to invent rather than do painstaking research is Gerhard Henschel’s blessing. His invention is fine satirical commentary which he uses to pummel any form of self-importance and make all human error look friendly. Every night, in the cellar of his detached house, he works into the early hours, weaving together precision and wit. A worker’s life that you can now read about in a book.

Till Briegler: „Alleskleber“
© Süddeutsche Zeitung, 21 March 2017

Gerhard Henschel
Hoffmann & Campe Verlag, Hamburg, 2017
ISBN 9783455405750
530 pages

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