Brazos Bookstore and Goethe Pop Up present Philip Boehm in conversation with Mimi Swartz for his translation of “The Passenger” by Ulrich Alexander Bochwitz. There will be a brief reading by Philip Boehm followed by a conversation with Mimi Swartz.
“The Passenger” is a jewel of a rediscovery: At once a deeply satisfying novel and a vital historical document—likely the first literary account, as Mr. Graf writes in his afterword, of Kristallnacht and its repercussions. Through the eyes of Otto Silbermann, we are thrust into the moment when politically legislated persecution tips into full-scale existential assault, our protagonist’s bewilderment morphing into terror and defiance as he tries to convince himself that the situation will surely get better:
“Sooner or later they’ll leave us alone again. . . . Things aren’t all that bad, when it comes down to it. Despite everything, I’m still alive.”
has translated dozens of novels and plays by German and Polish writers, including Herta Müller, Franz Kafka and Hanna Krall. For this work he has received fellowships from the NEA and the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, as well as numerous awards, most recently the Wolff Translator’s Prize from the Goethe-Institut. He is also a theater director and playwright.
is an executive editor of Texas Monthly
magazine and a contributing opinion writer for the New York Times
Op-Ed page. She is also the author of two books, Power Failure, the Inside Story of the Collapse of Enron
and Ticker, The Quest to Create An Artificial Heart
. Overall, Swartz has worked at Texas Monthly
for nearly thirty years and is a two time winner of and four time finalist for the National Magazine Award for stories published there. She has also been a staff writer at The New Yorker
; her work has also appeared in Vanity Fair, Esquire, Slate, National Geographic
and the New York Times Sunday magazine
. Her pieces have been collected in Best American Political Writing
, 2006, and Best American Sportswriting
, 2007. Swartz grew up in San Antonio, Texas, and now lives in Houston.