I’ve decided to start my year of German literature with Saša Stanišić’s Wie der Soldat das Grammofon Repariert. The English title is a verbatim translation: How the Soldier Repairs the Gramophone. The book was originally published in 2006 by Luchterhand Literaturverlag in Munich and was shortlisted for the German Book Prize. Subsequently, the book was translated into 30 languages. The English translation (by Anthea Bell) was published in 2008 by Grove/Atlantic, receiving overwhelmingly positive reviews and winning the Weidenfeld Translation Prize. It has also been adapted for the stage and the radio.
I will review the book on January 29 and would be happy if you read and reviewed with me. If you decide to spread the love via Twitter (or anywhere else), please use #12Germans2016.
About the Book (adapted from Goodreads)
Aleksandar is Comrade-in-Chief of fishing, the best magician in the non-aligned States and painter of unfinished things. He knows the first chapter of Marx’s Das Kapital by heart, but spends most of his time playing football in the Bosnian town of Visegrad on the banks of the river Drina. When his grandfather, a master storyteller, dies of the fastest heart attack in the world while watching Carl Lewis run a world record–setting race, Aleksandar promises to carry on the tradition. However, when the shadow of war spreads to Višegrad, the world as he knows it stops. Suddenly it is not important how heavy a spider’s life weighs, or why Marko’s horse is related to Superman. Suddenly it is important to have the right name and to pretend that the little Muslim girl Asija is his sister. Then Aleksandar’s parents decide to flee to Germany and he must leave his new friend behind.
About the Author
Saša Stanišić (born 7 March 1978) is a Bosnian-German writer. He was born in Višegrad in Bosnia in 1978 and came to Germany as a refugee of the Bosnian War when he was 14 years old. How the Soldier Repairs the Gramophone was his first book. His second book, Vor Dem Fest (Before the Feast) came out in 2014 and won the Leipzig Book Fair Prize. The English translation (also by Anthea Bell) was published by Pushkin Press in late 2015. His third book is scheduled to come out in May 2016.