NBG Choices

A selection of books in English translation recommended for reviewers, booksellers, literary festivals and readers.

Fiction

Tawada - cover
Memoirs of a Polar Bear Yoko Tawada
Hansen - cover
This House is Mine Dörte Hansen

All her life Vera has felt like a stranger in the old half-timbered farmhouse she arrived at as a five-year-old refugee from East Prussia in 1945, and yet she can’t seem to let it go. Sixty years later, her niece Anne suddenly shows up at her door with her small son. Vera and Anne are strangers to each other but have much more in common than they think.

‘[A] shrewd, timely, completely absorbing debut...’ – The New York Times

Herrndorf - cover
Sand Wolfgang Herrndorf

North Africa, 1972. While the world is reeling from the massacre of Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympics, a series of mysterious events is playing out in the Sahara desert. Four people are murdered in a hippy commune, a suitcase full of money disappears, and a pair of unenthusiastic detectives are assigned to investigate. In the midst of it all, a man with no memory tries to evade his armed pursuers.

Daniel Seton, Pushkin Press
Abarbanell - cover
Displaced Stephan Arbarbanell

Elias Lind can’t accept that his brother Raphael perished in a concentration camp and persuades a member of the Jewish resistance to help find him. Lilya’s search takes her from Jerusalem to London, from Munich to a displaced persons camp, before leading her to Berlin – but it’s soon clear that Raphael’s life isn’t the only one in question…

Mark Richards, editor
Seiler - cover
Kruso Lutz Seiler

Set shortly before the fall of the Berlin Wall, this German Book Prize winner is about an intense friendship that develops between two men living on the fringes of conventional society. Kruso is a charismatic, drug-addled Russian on a mission to help refugees from East Germany cross the border into the West; and Ed is a thoughtful young literature student grieving for the recent death of his girlfriend. Ed is drawn into Kruso’s orbit when he moves to the Baltic island of Hiddensee...

Helle - cover
Euphoria Heinz Helle

Somewhere in the Austrian Alps, a group of men in their thirties have gathered for a weekend together. When they come down from their cabin, the world has ended. It’s a great set-up for a post-apocalyptic existentialist survival thriller, and Heinz Helle uses it to explore the repressed savagery of human nature in a world run free from society’s restraints. An austere, troubling tale of how quickly men become beasts, Euphoria asks what becomes of us when all we have left is survival.

Nick Sheerin, editor
Geiger - cover
The Old King in his Exile Arno Geiger

Arno Geiger has won the German Book Prize for his fiction, but he’s best known for this memoir about his father’s dementia. His father was born in 1926 in the Austrian Alps and conscripted into World War II as a ‘schoolboy soldier’ – an experience that marked him profoundly. As Arno walks with him in the village and the landscape they both grew up in and listens to his words, often full of unexpected poetry, they find a way to grow closer. We’re honoured to be publishing it. It moved me so much that I found time to translate this one myself.

Stefan Tobler, publisher and translator

Non-fiction

Hoesle - cover
A Short History of German Philosophy Vittorio Hösle
Kermani - cover
Upheaval: The Refugee Trek through Europe Navid Kermani
Rüdiger Safranski - cover
Goethe Rüdiger Safranski
Ulrich Raulff - cover
Farewell to the Horse Ulrich Raulff

Crime Thriller

Kutscher - cover
The Silent Death Volker Kutscher
Sacha Batthyany - cover
A Crime in the Family Sacha Batthyany

A Crime in the Family is a moving and revelatory memoir in the vein of The Hare with the Amber Eyes and The House by the Lake. Told partly through the recovered memoirs of the author’s family, it uncovers barbarity and tragedy in the story of a forgotten and concealed massacre from the dying days of the Second World War, but also a measure of peace and reconciliation. 

Modern Classics

Huch - cover
The Last Summer Ricarda Huch
Günter Grass - cover
Of All That Ends Günter Grass

The final work of Nobel Prize-winning writer Günter Grass – a witty and elegiac series of meditations on writing, growing old, and the world. Only an ageing artist who had once more cheated death could get to work with such wisdom, defiance and wit. A wealth of touching stories is condensed into artful miniatures. In a striking interplay of poetry, lyric prose and drawings, Grass creates his final, major work of art. A moving farewell gift, a sensual, melancholy summation of a life fully lived.

Also Recommended

Hessel - cover
Walking in Berlin Franz Hessel