NBG Choices

Fiction

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The Book of Dreams Nina George
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A Slap in the Face Abbas Khider
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Seven Nights Simon Strauss
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The Fatherland Files Volker Kutscher

1932: A drowned man is found in a freight elevator in the giant pleasure palace on Potsdamer Platz, far from any standing water. Inspector Gereon Rath’s hunt for a mysterious contract killer has stalled, but this new case will take him to a small town on the Polish border and into a confrontation with the rising Nazi party.

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August Christa Wolf

August is a tender and beautiful story written by the prominent East German author just six months before her death in 2011. First published by Seagull in 2014, this classic is now being reissued as part of ‘The Seagull Library of German Literature’ – a comprehensive collection of 100 English translations of German titles with freshly designed, scintillating new covers. This four-year project will be launched with the first 25 titles at the Frankfurt Book Fair in October 2019 in collaboration with the Goethe-Institut.

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Ghosts of Berlin Rudolph Herzog

In Rudolph Herzog’s macabre and madcap vision of Berlin, bleeding walls are terrifying, as are overpriced artisanal burgers. Set in hipster Kreuzberg, chic airport lounges, and the former border between East and West Germany, the denizens of Herzog’s Berlin are demon-conjuring tech bros, acid-tripping artists, and forsaken migrants, each encountering the ghosts of the city’s complicated past.

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At the Edge of the Night Friedo Lampe

In his own words, ‘born into a regime where it could not breathe’, Lampe hoped that one day At the Edge of the Night might rise again. Rather than following one protagonist, this poignant novel evokes the sensations and impressions of a sultry September evening on the waterfront of Bremen. It contains a stream of images with many characters: children, old and young people, men and women, townsfolk, performers, students and seamen. Its depiction of raw reality was unacceptable to the Nazis, who banned the book in December 1933.

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The Eighth Life Nino Haratischvili

At the start of the twentieth century, on the edge of the Russian empire, a family prospers. It owes its success to a chocolate recipe, passed down the generations with great solemnity and caution. A caution which is justified: this is a recipe for ecstasy that carries a very bitter aftertaste. Stasia learns it from her Georgian father and takes it north, following her new husband Simon to his posting at the centre of the Russian Revolution in St Petersburg. But Stasia’s will be but the first of a symphony of grand, but all too often doomed romances that swirl from sweet to sour in this epic tale of the red century.

Modern Classics

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The Collected Poems of Bertolt Brecht Bertolt Brecht
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The Unhappiness of Being a Single Man. Essential Stories Franz Kafka
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We Women Have No Fatherland Ilse Frapan

Non-fiction

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A German Officer in Occupied Paris: The War Journals, 1941-1945 Ernst Jünger
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The Mood of the World Heinz Bude
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A World on Edge Daniel Schönpflug

Crime Thriller

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A Summer of Murder Oliver Bottini
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Beton Rouge Simone Buchholz
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The Second Rider Alex Beer
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Homeland Walter Kempowski

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.

Also Recommended

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The Sex of the Angels, the Saints in their Heaven Raoul Schrott
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Tales of Mr Keuner Bertolt Brecht
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Shit is Real Aisha Franz