DE → EN – Enjoy in English

This regular section will bring together a selection of German language books that have recently been published in English or are going to make an appearance in coming weeks.

Clicking on the title of a book will take you to its page on the publisher’s website.

If you have titles that you would like to see included in this section, please send them in to

Elly – Maike Wetzel

Translated by Lyn Marven

Scribe UK (April 2020), Scribe US (June 2020)

Read our original recommendation from Autumn 2018 here.

Eleven-year-old Elly is missing. After an extensive police search she is presumed dead, and her family must learn to live with a gaping hole in their lives. Then, four years later, she reappears. But soon her parents and sister are plagued by doubts. Is this stranger really the same little girl who went missing? And if not, who is she? Elly is a gripping tale of grief, longing, and doubt, which takes every parent’s greatest fear and lets it play out to an emotionally powerful, memorable climax. It is a literary novel with all the best qualities of a thriller. 

High As The Waters Rise -Anja Kampmann

Translated by Anne Posten

Catapult (September 2020)

The book is a finalist in the 2020 National Book Awards in the category for translated literature.

Read our original recommendation from 2018 here.

Anja Kampmann’s debut novel is an exquisitely lyrical tale of an oil platform worker whose best friend goes missing, plunging him into isolation and forcing him to confront his past. 

High As The Waters Rise is a highly poetic exploration of male friendship and grief. It is a captivating read, delving into a lifestyle that will be unfamiliar to most readers, but which is becoming increasingly topical as oil becomes harder to find and extract. 

Olga – Bernhard Schlink

Translated by Charlotte Collins

Weidenfeld & Nicolson (November 2020)

You can also read our author profile here.

Olga is an orphan raised by her grandmother in a Prussian village around the turn of the 20th century. Smart and precocious, she fights against the prejudices of the time to find her place in a world that sees her as second-best. When she falls in love with Herbert, a local aristocrat obsessed with the era’s dreams of power, glory and greatness, her life is irremediably changed.

Theirs is a love against all odds, entwined with the twisting paths of German history, leading us from the late 19th to the early 21st century, from Germany to Africa and the Arctic, from the Baltic Sea to the German south-west. This is the story of that love, of Olga’s devotion to a restless man – told in thought, letters and in a fateful moment of great rebellion.

Twelve Nights – Urs Faes

Translated by Jamie Lee Searle

Harvill Secker (December 2020)

Read our original recommendation from 2018 here.

Manfred walks alone through a snowy valley, surrounded by his memories. He’s been estranged from his brother Sebastian for decades, ever since their bitter feud over the love of a woman and the inheritance of the family farm. Twelve Nights transports us to the wintry depths of Europe’s Black Forest, in those dark, wild days between Christmas and Epiphany. These nights are a time of tradition and superstition, but the twelfth night, Epiphany, promises new beginnings, and a hope of reconciliation at last. Twelve Nights is a hymn to the winter landscape and the power of storytelling, a beautiful novella of the natural world and our place in it.

Daughters – Lucy Fricke

Translated by Sinéad Crowe

V&Q Books (September 2020)

An acclaimed road novel about two women either side of forty, each with difficult dads. When one father asks to be driven to a Swiss euthanasia clinic, it sets off a Europe-wide quest for the other. Running out of antidepressants, clean underwear and patience, the narrator ends up on a Greek island with a new view of her own past. The book’s exploration of feminism, family, ageing and loss reveals a blackly humorous side rarely associated with German literature. A book for anyone who’s ever had a father, translated with verve and affection by Sinéad Crowe.

Paula – Sandra Hoffmann

Translated by Katy Derbyshire

V&Q Books (September 2020)

Paula is an autofictional account of the author’s relationship with her grandmother, who refused to reveal the father of her child born in late 1946. Hoffmann confronts the silence passed down the generations and imagines who her grandfather might have been. In beautiful, thoughtful prose, she details her Catholic upbringing in rural 1970s Swabia, her unresolved questions about her own appearance and identity, and her eventual rebellion.

‘After working with Sandra Hoffman at the BCLT Summer School, I loved her book so much I set up an imprint to publish it…’

Katy Derbyshire, Publisher and Translator

The Day My Grandfather Was a Hero – Paulus Hochgatterer

Translated by Jamie Bulloch

MacLehose Press (July 2020)

This subtle, sparse, intensely atmospheric novel is very different from Hochgatterer’s psychological crime novels, but equally brilliant on the inner workings of a young girl traumatised by war, who appears on a farm in eastern Austria in Spring 1945. It observes beautifully the small shifts from apathy in a community not directly affected by the war, but exhausted by it nonetheless. The painting mentioned but never identified in the book is Franz Marc’s ‘Tower of Blue Horses’, included in Hitler’s 1937 ‘Entartete Kunst’ exhibition in Munich, after which it came into Hermann Göring’s possession and was never recovered, nor heard of since.

The Package – Sebastian Fitzek

Translated by Jamie Bulloch

Head of Zeus (November 2020)

Head of Zeus have acquired World English rights to five books by Germany’s bestselling author, Sebastian Fitzek.

Since his 2006 debut, every one of Fitzek’s thrillers have hit Der Spiegel’s Top 10. Seven of them went to number one, and two stayed on the bestseller list for a whole year. In 2018 and 2019 he was the country’s single bestselling author; to date he has sold eleven million books, one million audiobooks, and his reading tours fill stadiums.

The first book, The Package, will be published in hardback and ebook on 12 November 2020. The next books, Passenger 23, Seat 7A and The Soul Breaker follow in February, May and August 2021 respectively.

Sebastian Fitzek…is king of the thriller genre in Germany. Crossing fingers he will at least be knighted in the UK!

Roman Hocke, AVA International

The Summer of Her Life  Words by Thomas von Steinaecker 

Art by Barbara Yelin 
Translated by John Reddick 
May 2020 

Self-Portrait with Russian PianoWolf Wondratschek 

Translated by Marshall Yarbrough 
Farrar, Straus and Giroux 
September 2020 

The Piano StudentLea Singer 

Translated by Elisabeth Lauffer 
New Vessel Press 
October 2020 

The March FallenVolker Kutscher 

Translated by Niall Sellar 
Sandstone Press 
September 2020 

Germania  – Harald Gilbers 

Translated by Alexandra Roesch 
St Martin’s Press  
December 2020  

Journey through a Tragicomic CenturyFrancis Nenik 

Translated by Katy Derbyshire 
V&Q Books 
September 2020 

The Bohemians: The Lovers Who Led Germany’s Resistance Against the Nazis (US) 

The Infiltrators: The Lovers Who Led Germany’s Resistance Against the Nazis (UK) 

Norman Ohler 
Translated by Tim Mohr and Marshall Yarbrough 
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (US) 
Atlantic (UK) 
July 2020 (US) 
Aug 2020 (UK) 

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