My favourite book of 2018 has to be Die Katze und der General by Nino Haratischwili, an epic story of crime and punishment that stretches from the Chechnya of the mid-nineties through to contemporary Berlin. At 750 pages it’s not a quick read, but I promise it’s worth every word. Another novel that I’ve discovered this year – much shorter but just as memorable – is Things that Fall from the Sky by Finnish author Selja Ahava (Gummerus, 2015). Already in German (Mare Verlag, 2017, translated by Stefan Moster) it is soon to be published in English, translated by Emily Jeremiah and Fleur Jeremiah. It’s a poignant and heart-warming tale of fate and (mis)fortune, and the voice of the young protagonist Saara is truly something special. Finally, I can’t not mention The House of Impossible Beauties by American author Joseph Cassara. Inspired by the documentary Paris is Burning, this heart-breaking debut set in the drag world of 1980s New York tells the story of those pushed to the margins of society who have to fight every day to survive. Vivid and utterly engrossing, Cassara’s novel will never let you go.
Nino Haratischwili, Die Katze und der General (FVA, 2018) Read the NBG review here: http://www.new-books-in-german.com/cat-and-general
Selja Ahava, Things that Fall from the Sky, translated by Emily Jeremiah and Fleur Jeremiah (Oneworld, April 2019)
Joseph Cassara, The House of Impossible Beauties (Oneworld, 2018)
Alyson Coombes is a freelance translator, reader and editor, and works as assistant for New Books in German.