Czechoslovakia, late summer 1945. Four women are ordered by the new Czech authorities to assemble at the station – the ‘wild expulsions’ of Sudeten Germans have begun. They are taken to the far northwest of the Soviet zone and put to work as farm labourers. Their hope of returning to the Heimat is a source of strength and a burden, and this conflict becomes the story of their lives, playing out between the ruins of Nazi Germany, the rise and fall of communist East Germany, the birth of the Berlin Republic and the shadow of a new millennium.
Christoph, a successful, middle-aged writer, asks Lena, a younger, female artist, to meet him so that he can tell her a story. She appears to him as the doppelgänger for his lost love, Magdalena – who was the inspiration for his bestselling novel twenty years before. Christoph’s story is painfully familiar to Lena, as it mirrors her life with her boyfriend Chris. In this short, intellectually stimulating novel, Stamm explores memory, fiction and reality. Can it be possible that Lena and Chris’s lives have already been experienced by Christoph and Magdalena? And if so, what choices does that leave them to make?
He’s a trickster, a player, a jester. His handshake’s like a pact with the devil, his smile like a crack in the clouds; he’s watching you now and he’s gone when you turn. Tyll Eulenspiegel is here! With macabre humour and moving humanity, Daniel Kehlmann lifts this legend from medieval German folklore and enters him on the stage of the Thirty Years’ War. When citizens become the playthings of politics and puppetry, Tyll, in his demonic grace and his thirst for freedom, is the very spirit of rebellion – a cork in water, a laugh in the dark, a hero for all time.
This beautifully designed book by the author of Atlas of Remote Islands evokes writers as different as W.G. Sebald and Rebecca Solnit. Each of the twelve pieces follows the conventions of a different genre to lament something lost to the world, from the paradisal island of Tuanaki to Greta Garbo’s fading beauty. And if those losses are meticulously inventoried, they are also brought richly to life.
Timur Vermes is the master of the ‘what if’ scenario. After Look Who’s Back comes an equally daring book, this time addressing the lack of political forward-thinking on migration and the vacuousness of modern media culture in a world that seems only moments in the future. Vermes’ novel has the power to unsettle, to make its readers laugh, but above all to make them think.
1959, Seoul. Divided from his family by the violent tumult of the Korean civil war, Yunho arrives in South Korea’s capital searching for his oldest friend. He finds him in the arms of Eve Moon, a dancer with many names who may be a refugee fleeing the communist North, or an American spy. Beguiled, Yunho falls desperately in love. But nothing in Seoul is what it seems. The city is crowded with double agents and soldiers, and wracked by protests and poverty, while across the border, Pyongyang grows more prosperous by the day. When a series of betrayals and a brutal crime drive the three friends into exile, Yunho finds himself caught in the riptide of history. Might a homecoming to North Korea be his only hope for salvation?