Have I mentioned how much I love Jenny Erpenbeck? I REALLY love Jenny Erpenbeck. And because I’m not good at reading things when they first come out, my first choice for this year was actually published in 2017: Erpenbeck’s latest novel to appear in English, Go Went Gone. It’s the story of a newly-retired professor who befriends a group of refugees. The author tackles the refugee crisis in Europe in her usual subtle and insightful style, with the aid of a vividly-drawn cast of characters. Published by Portobello in Susan Bernofsky’s wonderful translation, it was longlisted for this year’s Man Booker International Prize.
Lutz Seiler’s Kruso is another book I failed to read when it was first published – and if you haven’t read it yet, then maybe wait one more month, because the paperback is out in January. I loved its immersive quality, all the colours, sounds and smells of the Baltic island where Ed, the protagonist, finds himself.
And like everyone else in the past couple of months, I’ve been reading Sally Rooney’s second novel, Normal People. It’s a beautifully observed exploration of love and class in the modern world, which completely lives up to the hype.
Jenny Erpenbeck, Go Went Gone, translated by Susan Bernofsky (Portobello, 2018)
Lutz Seiler, Kruso, translated by Tess Lewis (Scribe, 2017)
Read the NBG review here: http://www.new-books-in-german.com/kruso-0
Sally Rooney, Normal People (Faber & Faber, 2018)
Ruth Martin translates fiction and non-fiction from German. Recent translations include Michael Köhlmeier’s novels Two Gentlemen on the Beach and Yiza (Haus Publishing), and Volker Weidermann’s Dreamers: When the Writers Took Power (Pushkin Press).