My mom and sister were visiting from Germany over the weekend for a family event. The visit was too short, as usual. But now our hearts and souls are stocked with new memories and family time, our pantry is stocked with Mövenpick coffee and Milka chocolate, and my bookshelf is stocked with a few new German books.
- Erich Kästner, Der Gang vor die Hunde. I know Erich Kästner mostly as children’s author of such classics as Emil and the Detectives, The Parent Trap, and The Flying Classroom. But he wrote for adults as well. In 1931, his novel Fabian was published, but it was greatly edited by the publisher because of its decadent and obscene content. Der Gang vor die Hunde is Kästner’s original version, painting “a deeply pessimistic” picture of Germany at the end of the Weimar Republic.
- Edda Ziegler, Verboten, Verfemt, Vertrieben. Last year’s German Literature Month brought this book to my attention. It is a collection of biographies of German women writers who opposed the Nazis. This book is not available in English and almost impossible to get in the U.S. Thanks to my mom, I now own a copy.
- Jenny Erpenbeck, Aller Tage Abend. The End of Days is Erpenbeck’s latest offering and made the shortlist of the Foreign Fiction Prize this year. The reviews I’ve read all sounded promising, so I’m excited to finally sample her work. (My mom found the book depressing.)
- Annette von Droste-Hülshoff, Collected Works. I’ve planned to read the novella The Jews’ Beech Tree for my TBR Pile challenge this year. Quite by coincidence, my mom found this book at home, which includes the novella, and decided to bring it along. Over the years, this particular book has accompanied various members of my extended family, and its story has already made it invaluable to me. Now I can’t wait to start reading.
- In high school, I was a big fan of Friedrich Dürrenmatt, a Swiss author and dramatist. I’m curious to find out how I will like re-reading his work.