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Seagull Books - GI Mumbai© Seagull Books

Glimpses into some must-read books
Readings in the Shed - Blurbs

Goethe-Institut Mumbai presents readings of excerpts from English translations of selected contemporary German-language literature in the form of short films. These books and many more are available in Goethe-Institut’s free digital e-library Onleihe.

Readings in the Shed is an initiative about the written word. It seeks to explore text that has originated from various parts of the world. It places the same in a performance by an artist who reads these texts through his life experience and perspective. The travails of the word along with the experiences of the artist make the text relevant to all audiences that witness it.

Founded by Naveen Kishore in 1982, Seagull Books is an independent publishing house specializing in books on art, theatre, cinema and academic titles on culture and society. Since 2005, Seagull Books London Limited has ventured into English translations of fiction and non-fiction stories by African, European, Asian, and Latin American writers.

Goethe-Institut has collaborated with Seagull books to bring to its patrons content-rich, contemporary German-language literature in English. Naveen Kishore has been editing this series of books since 2009. Most of the book covers have been designed by Sunandini Banerjee.

The Passport by Herta Müller © Goethe-Institut / Max Mueller Bhavan Mumba, Photo: film still

The Passport by Herta Müller

From the winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature 2009, The Passport is a beautiful, haunting novel whose subject is a German village in Romania caught between the stifling hopelessness of Ceausescu's dictatorship and the glittering temptations of the West. Stories from the past are woven together with the problems Windisch, the village miller, faces after he applies for permission to migrate to West Germany. Herta Müller describes with poetic attention the dreams and superstitions, conflicts and oppression of a forgotten region, the Banat, in the Danube Plain. In sparse, lyrical language, Herta Müller captures the forlorn plight of a trapped people. This edition is translated by Martin Chalmers, with a new foreword by Paul Bailey.

Blurbs: Prose © Seagull Books

Prose by Thomas Bernhard

The Austrian playwright, novelist and poet Thomas Bernhard is acknowledged as among the major writers of our time.The seven stories in this collection capture Bernhard’s distinct darkly comic voice and vision—often compared to Kafka and Musil—commenting on a corrupted world.

Blurbs: Correspondence by Ingeborg Bachmann & Paul Celan © Goethe-Institut / Max Mueller Bhavan Mumba, Photo: film still

Correspondence by Ingeborg Bachmann & Paul Celan

It was the post world war era. Ingeborg's voice was at the brink of bursting upon German literature. Paul, a survivor of a labour camp, had published Death Fugue, one of the most important poems of the Holocaust. Perhaps it was their stark different backgrounds. Perhaps it was their shared ideologies. Or, perhaps love needed no reason. Correspondence by Ingeborg Bachmann & Paul Celan celebrates a love that transcended separation, changed form and lived on.

Till Day You Do Part Or A Question of Light © Till day you do part - Seagull Books, Bis Daß der Tag - Suhrkamp

Till Day You Do Part Or A Question of Light

Described as an answer to or at least an echo of Samuel Beckett’s Krapp’s Last Tape?, Till Day You Do Part Or A Question of Light, by esteemed Austrian playwright and novelist Peter Handke, is a monologue delivered by the “she” in Beckett’s play. It is Handke at his best, evidencing the great skill, psychological acumen, and vision for which his work has been celebrated.

The nameless day © Suhrkamp Verlag | Seagull books

Friedrich Ani | Translation: Alexander Booth
The nameless day

After years on the job, police detective Jakob Franck has retired. Finally, the dead-with all their mysteries-will no longer have any claim on him. Or so he thinks. On a cold autumn afternoon, a case he thought he'd long put behind him returns to his life-and turns it upside down...


What darkness was ©Seagull Books

Inka Parei
What darkness was

An old man close to death. A suspicious stranger on the stairs. The sounds of the endless night unsettle him, triggering images, questions and memories - the impressions of the day just past and his life. The old man wracks his brain over why he inherited the building he now lives in, why he left the city that was his home for so long: Is he here voluntarily? What brought the stranger here?

Urs Widmer - readings in the shed © Goethe-Institute | Photo: still of the film

Urs Widmer
On Life, Death, and This and That of the Rest

The Lectures on Poetics Series at the University of Frankfurt VI has hosted many illustrious speakers at its lectern, including Ingeborg Bachmann, Theodor Adorno, and Heinrich Böll. At the beginning of 2007, Urs Widmer—described by the Independent as ‘one of the living greats of Swiss literature’—spoke to more than twelve hundred students and enthusiasts, sharing the sum of his understandings of poets and their timeless creations.

Christa Wolf: One Day a Year, 2001-2011 ©Seagull Books

Christa Wolf
One day a year

During a 1960 interview, East German writer Christa Wolf was asked a curious question: would she describe in detail what she did on September 27th? Fascinated by considering the significance of a single day over many years, Wolf began keeping a detailed diary of September 27th, a practice which she carried on for more than fifty years until her death in 2011.