A selection of new books in English translation, recommended for reviewers, booksellers, literary festivals and readers. Click here for the brand new selection of NBG Choices - Spring 2019.
It’s 2011, and three young Syrians are finding themselves increasingly at odds with the authorities. As each of them encounters the sharp edge of the government’s wrath, they have no choice but to flee their homeland for Europe, facing terrible dangers along the way. However, as they begin their new lives in Germany, they soon discover their struggles are far from over. Drawing on first-hand accounts of refugees, City of Jasmine is an intimate and striking novel that offers real insight into the horrors and inhumanity of war.
Carlo misses his father, who has left Germany and returned to their native Palermo. Tired of waiting for his father to visit, Carlo sets off for Palermo, but without any money to pay his fare. In the series of adventures that follows, anything that could go wrong does, but despite everything Carlo gets to Palermo and arrives at his Papa’s door. Will reality live up to Carlo’s dreams? This story from Germany’s leading children’s author will strike a chord with readers as they take Carlo into their hearts.
When Gilbert Silvester awakes one day from a dream that his wife has cheated on him, he flees – immediately and inexplicably – to Japan. In Tokyo, Gilbert discovers the writings of the great poet Bashō, and sets off on a pilgrimage in the poet’s footsteps to see the moon rise over the pine islands of Matsushima. Marion Poschmann’s German Book Prize-nominated novel is a serene, playful and profound story of transformation in a disappearing Japan.
West Germany, early 1960s: A little girl arrives with her parents from East Germany in a camp for displaced people. Her father is abusive, her mother ignores her. All she wants for her birthday is a kitten. Instead she receives a globe. She can barely hide her disappointment, but soon discovers that the globe offers her a means of escape. In this novel Birgit Vanderbeke goes back to her own childhood in divided Germany. She shows how the little girl she once was saved herself by imagining countries on the far side of the world.
Winner of the German Book Prize, The Capital is a brilliantly constructed House of Cards for the EU Commission – and a reminder of why it came into being in the first place. Nothing could be more pertinent to our times. Bursting with life and bustling with ideas, it has a cast of tragic heroes, bad losers, petty bureaucrats, big dreamers – and a pig on the loose in the streets of Brussels. Robert Menasse has achieved the perfect blend of the serious and the satirical.
Samir leaves the safety and comfort of his family’s adopted home in Germany for volatile Beirut in an attempt to find his missing father. His only clues are an old photo and the bedtime stories his father used to tell him. The Storyteller follows Samir’s turbulent search for Brahim, the father whose heart was always yearning for his homeland, Lebanon. In this moving and gripping novel about family secrets, love, and friendship, Pierre Jarawan does for Lebanon what Khaled Hosseini’s The Kite Runner did for Afghanistan.
It is 1988 and Jonathan Fabrizius, a journalist living in West Germany, travels to the contested lands of former East Prussia – where the Nazi legacy lives on in buildings and fortifications – to write about a car rally. It’s a plum job, but his interest is piqued by a personal connection. Here, among the refugees fleeing the advancing Russians in 1945, Jonathan was born. Homeland is a nuanced work from one of the great modern European storytellers, in which an everyday German comes face to face with his painful family history, and with ordinary Germans’ complicity.