This regular page brings you a selection of German-language titles that have just been, or are soon to be, published in English.
Clicking on the title of a book will take you to its page on the publisher’s website.
Have we missed anything?! Let us know by emailing Sarah at firstname.lastname@example.org
Translated by Abigail Wender
V & Q Books, October 2021
Each of us has something that feels essential to who we are. For Hans Frambach, it’s the crimes of the Nazi era, which have hurt him for as long as he can remember. That’s why he became an archivist at the Bureau of Past Management; now, though, he’s wondering if he should make a change. For his best friend, Graziela, that past was also her focal point – until she met a man who desired her. From then on, sexual pleasure became the key to her life; a concept she’s now beginning to doubt. Hans and Graziela thought the Nazi crimes were the inheritance that neither could bear, but can we really blame Nazism for everything?
Iris Hanika shows how the crimes of the Nazi era hold the Germans in their clutches to this day. Can a country manage its past, or ought we to remain helpless in the face of the horrific crimes of the Holocaust?
Translated by Melanie Florence
Eglantyne Books, January 2022
Nine million, five hundred and eighty-six thousand horses were killed on the battlefields of World War One. Huge additional numbers were maimed and wounded. This is the account of a survivor from the German side by a horse who lived to tell the tale.
Originally published in 1929 in Germany, it was one of many books banned by the Nazis, and all copies which could be found at the time were burnt in bonfires by the Gestapo. Out-of-print since its original publication, this short novel narrated by the mare, Liesl, is here translated into English for the first time.
Translated by Georg Bauer
New Vessel Press, March 2022
This absorbing, sensitive novel portrays a famed author in a moment of crisis: an aging Hugo von Hofmannsthal returns to a summer resort outside of Salzburg that he visited as a child. But in the spa town where he once thrilled to the joys of youth, he now feels unproductive and uninspired, adrift in the modern world born after World War One. Over ten days in 1924 in a ramshackle inn that has been renamed the Grand Hotel, Hofmannsthal fruitlessly attempts to complete a play he’s long been wrestling with. The writer is plagued by feelings of loneliness and failure that echo in a buzz of inner monologues, imaginary conversations, and nostalgic memories of relationships with glittering cultural figures. Palace of Flies conjures up an individual state of distress and disruption at a time of fundamental societal transformation that speaks eloquently to our own age.
Georg Bauer is a Vienna-based translator and editor. He is the 2021 recipient of the Austrian Cultural Forum New York Translation Prize for Palace of Flies.
Translated by Tess Lewis
Bloomsbury, July 2021, Farrar Strauss and Giroux, June 2021
In this international bestseller, a heart-warming story unfolds about a small town, a grandmother whose dreams foretell a coming death, and the young woman forever changed by these losses and her loving, endearingly oddball community.
A story about the absurdity of life and death, a bittersweet portrait of small towns and the wider world that beckons beyond, this charmer of a novel is also a thoughtful meditation on the way loss and love shape not just a person but a community. What You Can See from Here is a moving tale of grief, first love, reluctant love, late love, and finding one’s place in the world, even if that place is right where you started.
“Charming… In her optimism and her playfulness, Leky aligns herself with other folklore enthusiasts like Helen Oyeyemi and Ali Smith… There is a satisfying spark to her short, declarative sentences; they induce reflection, and maybe even learning.”Katherine Hill, The New York Times Book Review
Translated by Sharmila Cohen
World Editions, May 2021
Riva is a “high-rise diver,” a top athlete with millions of fans, and a perfectly functioning human on all levels. Suddenly she rebels, breaking her contract and refusing to train. Cameras are everywhere in her world, but she doesn’t know her every move is being watched by Hitomi, the psychologist tasked with reining Riva back in. Unquestionably loyal to the system, Hitomi’s own life is at stake: should she fail to deliver, she will be banned to the “peripheries,” the filthy outskirts of society. For readers of The Handmaid’s Tale, The Circle, and Brave New World, this chilling dystopia constructs a world uncomfortably close to our own, in which performance is everything.
Translated by Robert Temple
Eglantyne Books, January 2022
This collection of his poems is considered one of the masterpieces of twentieth-century poetry. And there are many who think of Rilke as the finest poet of all those who have appeared in our modern times. Above all, Rilke aimed to be life-enhancing, and to celebrate beauty, joy and love of all that is good in the world.
Translated by Damion Searls
Jonathan Cape, November 2021
Saša Stanišic’s Where You Come From is a novel about a village where only thirteen people remain, a country that no longer exists, a shattered family that is his own. Blending autofiction, fable, and choose-your-own-adventure, Stanišic traces a family’s escape during the conflict in Yugoslavia, and the years that followed as they built a life in Germany. As he explores what it means to be European today, he examines how it feels to learn a new language, to find new friends and new jobs, and to build an identity between countries and cultures.
Translated by Damion Searls, Where You Come From is about homelands, both remembered and imagined. A book that bends form and genre with wit, heart, and exceptional craftsmanship to explore questions that lie inside all of us: about language and shame, about arrival and making it just in time, about luck and death, about what role our origins and memories play in our lives.
Translated by Ashley Dukes
Eglantyne Books, January 2022
This important work appears here in English for the first time in nearly a century, it is one of the most moving testaments we have from a writer in prison.
Ernst Toller was one of Germany’s best-known playwrights in the first half of the twentieth century, and his works were produced all over the world. Many of his plays were composed in the five years he spent in solitary confinement as a political prisoner in the early twenties. During this time, his only friends were a pair of swallows who flew in through the bars of his single high window and made a nest in his cell.
Translated by Elisabeth Lauffer
New Vessel Press, February 2022
October 16, 1943, inside the Vatican as darkness descends upon Rome. Having been alerted to the Nazi plan to round up the city’s Jewish population the next day, Monsignor M dispatches an envoy to a nearby palazzo to bring Ludwig Pollak and his family to safety within the papal premises. But Pollak shows himself in no hurry to leave his home and accept the eleventh-hour offer of refuge. Pollak’s visitor is obliged to take a seat and listen as he recounts his life story: how he studied archaeology in Prague, of his passion for Italy and Goethe, how he became a renowned antiquities dealer and advisor to great collectors like J. P. Morgan and the Austro-Hungarian emperor after his own Jewishness barred him from an academic career, and finally of his spectacular discovery of the missing arm from the majestic ancient sculpture of Laocoön. This stunning novel illuminates the chasm between civilization and barbarism by spotlighting a little-known figure devoted to knowledge and the power of artistic creation.
Hans von Trotha has composed a small jewel of a novel … This book offers vivid testimony of his words and actions in defense of humane culture against barbarism.R. J. B. Bosworth, author of Mussolini and The Oxford Handbook of Fascism
Translated by Katy Derbyshire
V & Q Books, October 2021
Madgermanes is what the Mozambican workers once contracted out to East Germany are called today. At the end of the 1970s, some 20,000 of them were sent from the People’s Republic of Mozambique to the GDR to labour for their socialist sister country. After the Berlin Wall fell, almost all of them lost their residency status. Decades later, they are still waiting for most of their wages to be paid.
Birgit Weyhe depicts their search for belonging and a place to call home, caught between two cultures and two states that no longer exist. Based on extensive interviews, she creates three fictitious narrators and transforms their stories into a visual language that skilfully interweaves African and European narrative traditions.
Birgit Weyhe traces emotions and situations, translating them into overwhelming images by entering into an artistic dialogue between European and African culture.Max and Moritz Prize
Translated by Alta L. Price
World Editions, November 2021
Zeh challenges readers to consider how complicit we are in our current political dilemmasLos Angeles Times
Lanzarote on New Year’s Day: Henning is cycling up the steep path to Femés. As he struggles against the wind and the gradient he takes stock of his life. He has a job, a wife, two children—yet hardly recognizes himself anymore. Panic attacks have been pouncing on him like demons. When he finally reaches the pass in utter exhaustion, a mysterious coincidence unveils a repressed yet vivid memory, plunging him back into childhood and the traumatic event that almost cost him and his sister their lives. In this compelling and darkly psychological novel, Juli Zeh tells the breathtaking story of two small children who, in the middle of a holiday in paradise, end up in hell and live to tell the tale.
Juli Zeh is one of Germany’s most successful authors of both literary thrillers and novels. Her debut novel Eagles and Angels was an international bestseller and was awarded the Deutscher Bücherpreis, and since then her books have been translated into 35 languages. She has been awarded myriad prizes for her work, including the Carl Amery Literature Prize, the Thomas Mann Prize, and the Order of Merit.
Translated by Jamie Bulloch
MacLehose Press, September 2021
One glimpse of the dark, silent water of the Rhine and everything was momentarily forgotten. The hatred, the pain, the fear.
At first nothing seems to link fifteen-year-old Eddie, a bit of a loner who finds solace swimming in the dangerous waters of the Rhine, and Nadine, a rich but bored student from Freiburg. Except for the fact that both disappear without trace, within days of each other. When Eddie’s body is found, suspicion first falls upon his brutal and uncooperative father. But when Nadine’s own father raises the alarm, Detective Chief Inspector Louise Bonì of the Freiburg police instinctively feels that the cases are connected.
An abandoned barn near the river soon becomes the focus of the investigation, beginning a trail that will lead Bonì and her team across the Rhine to Colmar, confronting them with the grim secrets of outwardly respectable citizens. Sometimes it takes very little to unleash the monster in man.
Taut writing and pacy events.Sunday Times
Translated by Rachel Reynolds
Plume Books, September 21
Newly translated from the German and set against the cultural tumult of twenty-first century Berlin, Forty Hours is a fast-paced, intelligent crime thriller that explores ideas of guilt, redemption, identity and belonging. It also offers English-speaking readers a fascinating glimpse into the realities of life and policing in the German capital, and will please all who enjoy high quality police procedurals and crime stories. Forty Hours has also been translated into Polish, Italian and Dutch.
Translated by Joan Riviere
riverrun editions, November 2020
This collection focuses in on the set of Riviere’s translations that made up the first library of Freud in English. Including his papers on metapsychology, applied psychoanalysis and technique, and within those broader categories are subjects as diverse as narcissism, love, paranoia and homosexuality. Riviere’s great understanding of Freud’s work is evident as we see his engrossingly direct arguments – the style that distinguished him from academics of his day – take shape in her talented translations. We are presented with Freud’s various guises, both an essayist and master storyteller he brings to life the vagaries of his patients.
Freud the writer is what Joan Riviere so elegantly presents to the English-Language reader.Lisa Appignanesi from her preface to Sigmund Freud: Essays and Papers
Translated by Simon Pare
Polity, November 2021
Berlin in the early 1990s: this is the place to be. Berlin-Mitte, the central district of the city, with its wastelands and decaying houses, has become the focal point of a new movement. Artists, musicians, squatters, club owners, DJs, and ravers are reclaiming what used to be the heart of the city. In the months following the fall of the Wall, there is a feeling of immense possibilities: life is now.
Ulrich Gutmair moved to West Berlin as a student in autumn 1989 and spent the next few years studying during the day in the West and exploring the squats, bars and techno clubs in the East at night. Ten years later he decided to write a book about that transitional period between the collapse of the old East Germany and the gentrification of the new Berlin, a period when utopia was a place that anyone could inhabit for a moment.
Ulrich Gutmair is a culture and arts editor for the daily newspaper die tageszeitung. He lives in Berlin.
Translated by Elizabeth Janik
Berghahn Books, April 2021
Drawing on previously inaccessible and overlooked archival sources, The Herero Genocide undertakes a groundbreaking investigation into the war between colonizer and colonized in what was formerly German South-West Africa and is today the nation of Namibia. In addition to its eye-opening depictions of the starvation, disease, mass captivity, and other atrocities suffered by the Herero, it reaches surprising conclusions about the nature of imperial dominion, showing how the colonial state’s genocidal posture arose from its own inherent weakness and military failures. The result is an indispensable account of a genocide that has been neglected for too long.
Translated by Tess Lewis
Yale University Press, October 2021
Revered by Bertolt Brecht and Max Frisch as one of Switzerland’s most commanding writers, Ludwig Hohl (1904-1980) spent most of his waking hours with a pen in hand, collecting quotes from others and recording ruminations of his own. Composed between 1934 and 1936 during his residence in the Netherlands in a state of “extreme spiritual desolation,” The Notes is Hohl’s magnum opus: an assemblage of his epiphany-like observations, disparate in subject yet threaded together by a relentless exploration of the nature and origins of creativity.
Inspired by Spinoza, Goethe, and many others, The Notes contends with the purpose of work, the vitality of art, and the inevitability of death—a valiant, uncompromising exercise in hope against the devastating backdrop of twentieth-century Europe. This abridged edition, expertly translated by Tess Lewis and with an illuminating foreword by Joshua Cohen, introduces the reader to this remarkable work and its writer.
Ludwig Hohl is a great discovery, an unjustly neglected author.Susan Bernofsky
Translated by Shaun Whiteside
WH Allen, June 2021
***SHORTLISTED FOR THE BAILLIE GIFFORD PRIZE 2021***
Magnificent… There are great lessons in the nature of humanity to be learnt hereThe Telegraph
Germany, 1945: a country in ruins. Cities have been reduced to rubble and more than half of the population are where they do not belong or do not want to be. How can a functioning society ever emerge from this chaos?
In bombed-out Berlin, Ruth Andreas-Friedrich, journalist and member of the Nazi resistance, warms herself by a makeshift stove and records in her diary how a frenzy of expectation and industriousness grips the city. The Americans send Hans Habe, an Austro-Hungarian Jewish journalist and US army soldier, to the frontline of psychological warfare – tasked with establishing a newspaper empire capable of remoulding the minds of the Germans. The philosopher Hannah Arendt returns to the country she fled to find a population gripped by a manic loquaciousness, but faces a deafening wall of silence at the mention of the Holocaust.
Aftermath is a nuanced panorama of a nation undergoing monumental change. 1945 to 1955 was a raw, wild decade poised between two eras that proved decisive for Germany’s future – and one starkly different to how most of us imagine it today. Featuring black and white photographs and posters from post-war Germany – some beautiful, some revelatory, some shocking – Aftermath evokes an immersive portrait of a society corrupted, demoralised and freed – all at the same time.
Translated by Edwin and Willa Muir, Ernst Kaiser and Eithne Williams
riverrun editions, September 2020
This is a Kafka emergency kit, a congregation of the brief, the minor works that are actually major. Joshua Cohen has produced a frame that refuses distinctions between what is a story, a letter, a workplace memo and a diary entry, also including popular favourites like The Bucket Rider, The Penal Colony and The Burrow. Here we see Kafka’s preoccupations in writing about animals, messiah variations, food and exercise, each in his signature style.
Translated by Ruth Ahmedzai Kemp
DAS Editions, October 2021
Ijoma Alexander Mangold is his full name; he has brown skin and dark curly hair. Today one of Germany’s best literary critics, Ijoma remembers his childhood, his teenage years and his early adulthood in this compelling coming-of-age memoir of growing up different in 1970s Heidelberg, in the USA as the German Wall fell, and as a young adult in the new Germany.
Mangold explores many existential questions in this lively narrative; How does a boy cope with an absent father? What was it like to grow up ‘bi-racial’? Was he an opportunist, a master adaptor who had over-assimilated? What is the relationship between race and class? And what is more unusual in Germany: having brown skin or a passion for Thomas Mann and Richard Wagner? Ijoma Mangold shares his story with its dramatic twists and turns, not forgetting the surprises, he uncovers about himself along the way.
Smart, reflective (…) You read this like you read literary fiction: gripped, at times emotional.Claudius Seidl, Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung
Translated by Simon Pare
Haus Publishing / Armchair Traveller, Oct 2021
Dramatic conflicts, migrating populations, changing fortunes. Decades of political and cultural pressure under communism. The encroachment of climate change and globalisation. For centuries, the Black Sea has been at the centre of a shifting kaleidoscope of stories.
Visiting every country around the coast, Jens Mühling explores nations both ancient and nascent, connecting with local people and landscapes, following their stories, and discovering the startling sights of this multifaceted region. He portrays minority populations who vie proudly for respect and autonomy, and depicts a region of never-ending social and ecological transformation – from gradual evolutions to the stark shockwaves of displacements and invasions. Ultimately, Mühling shows the peoples and places of this region are much like the sea around which they converge: restless, enigmatic, underestimated, and captivating.
In this brilliant and humane journey, Jens Mühling explores the nations, societies and minorities jostling passionately around the Black Sea.Neal Ascherson, author of Black Sea
Translated by Shelley Frisch
Farrar, Straus and Giroux, February 2022
An award-winning poet and philosopher reveals the history of the German idealist oasis where discussions of revolution, literature, beliefs, romance, and concepts gave birth to the modern world.
Around the turn of the nineteenth century, a steady stream of young German poets and thinkers coursed to the town of Jena to make history. The French Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars had dealt a one-two punch to the dynastic system. Confidence in traditional social, political, and religious norms had been replaced by a profound uncertainty that was as terrifying for some as it was exhilarating for others. Nowhere was the excitement more palpable than among the extraordinary group of poets, philosophers, translators, and socialites who gathered in this Thuringian village of just four thousand residents.
With wit and elegance, Peter Neumann brings this remarkable circle of friends and rivals to life in Jena 1800, a work of intellectual history that is colorful and passionate, informative and intimate―as fresh and full of surprises as its subjects.
The story commences with war and love, but then, most subtly, the reader is led up into the supple distinctions of systematic Idealism. Frisch’s translation lets the reader feel the romance of philosophical insight.Daniel Purdy, Professor of German, Penn State University
Translated by Lucy Duggan
Columbia University Press, August 2021
The concept of revolution marks the ultimate horizon of modern politics. It is instantiated by sites of both hope and horror. Within progressive thought, “revolution” often perpetuates entrenched philosophical problems: a teleological philosophy of history, economic reductionism, and normative paternalism. At a time of resurgent uprisings, how can revolution be reconceptualized to grasp the dynamics of social transformation and disentangle revolutionary practice from authoritarian usurpation?
Praxis and Revolution urges readers not only to understand revolutions differently but also to situate them elsewhere: in collective contexts that aim to storm manifold Bastilles—but from within.
Eva’s new book Revolution for Life is covered by the New Books in German funding guarantee, read more here.
Translated by Steph Morris
Seagull Books, September 2021
It All Tastes of Farewell is a frank account of one woman’s life and loves in 1960s East Germany. As a writer, Brigitte Reimann could not help but tell a compelling story, and that is born out here in her diaries, which are gripping as any novel. She recorded only what mattered: telling details, emotional truths, and political realities. Never written for publication and first published in full in German only after the fall of the Berlin Wall, these diaries offer a unique record of what it felt like to live in a country that no longer exists, was represented for years largely through Cold War propaganda, and is still portrayed in fairy-tale Stasi dramas. Here we get a sense of lived experience, as if Doris Lessing or Edna O’Brien had been allowed in with their notebooks.
This volume continues where her earlier book of diaries, I Have No Regrets, left off, in 1964. It sees Reimann grow wistful and at times bitter, as her love life, her professional life, and her health all suffer. Yet throughout she retains a lively appetite for new experiences and a dedication to writing. Finally she finds security in a surprising new love, and although she died soon after this volume ends, the novel she was writing was to become a much-read cult hit after her death.
A remarkable document from a time and place that we still struggle to see clearly, It All Tastes of Farewell is unforgettable, a last gift from an essential writer.
[P]assionate self-reflection, political insight and a fierce commitment to the art of fiction on practically every page.Times Literary Supplement
Translated by Deborah Langton
Edited by Marita Krauss, Universität Augsburg and Erich Kasberger
Cambridge University Press, December 2021
You can watch the book launch at the Wiener Holocaust Library here. At the event, translator Deborah Langton talked about her experience of working on the book and discussed key themes, people and places, as well as reading extracts from Else’s diaries while Steve Cooper, Else’s grandson, read from Siegfried’s diaries.
The book’s quite special in that it is an academic book but absolutely full of human interest, as the Q & A after the launch event demonstrated. I see it as highly accessible. The launch event was a very moving occasion with plenty of happiness and humour too. Many thanks to the Wiener Library and to publisher CUP for their support. It was especially pleasing for me to share some readings at the end of the event with Else Behrend’s grandson and to know that her daughter, Hanna, who will turn 100 this year, was also listening in.Translator Deborah Langton after the launch event
The horrors of persecution and exile common to so many German Jews and opponents of the Hitler regime is brought home in searing detail in the interwoven diaries and letters of the Rosenfelds. They capture the struggle to find ways to survive in a world increasingly abnormal and threatening, an experience from the Third Reich that encapsulates the suffering of all those whose lives were destroyed by politics in the age of European dictatorship.Richard Overy, University of Exeter
Translated by Sharon Howe
Oxford University Press, November 2021
The book throws light on an almost forgotten world, the old Arab Berlin of the Weimar period. It tells a true story reconstructed through conversations with descendants and research from the Cairo and New York family archives.
Mohammed Helmy, who lived in Berlin until his death in 1982, was honored by the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial as one of 25,000 “Righteous Among the Nations” who managed to save Jews during World War II.
The books was a New Books in German jury selection. Read our original recommendation of the book here.
Translated by Ayça Türkoğlu
Granta, November 2021
An original and revelatory exploration of the hidden world of slime – the substance upon which we and our world depend.
Slime is an ambiguous thing. It exists somewhere between and sold and a liquid. It inspires revulsion even while it compels our fascination. It is both a vehicle for pathogens and the strongest weapon in our immune system. Most of us know little about it and yet it is the substance on which our world turns.
In this ground breaking and fascinating book, Susanne Wedlich leads us on a scientific journey through the 3-billion year history of slime, from the part it played in the evolution of life on this planet to the way it might feature in the posy-human future. Written with authority, wit and eloquence, Slime brings this most nebulous and neglected of substances to life.
Translated by Alexandra Roesch
Scribe, August 2021
For readers of Entangled Life and The Hidden Life of Trees, a fascinating journey into the world of plants and animals, and the ways they communicate with each other.
In forests, fields, and even gardens, there is a constant exchange of information going on. Animals and plants must communicate with one another to survive, but they also tell lies, set traps, talk to themselves, and speak to each other in a variety of unexpected ways.
Here, behavioural biologist Madlen Ziege reveals the fascinating world of nonhuman communication. In charming, humorous, and accessible prose, she shows how nature’s language can help us to understand our own place in the natural world a little better.
Children’s and young adult
Translated by Elisabeth Lauffer
Charlesbridge, September 2021
Hanna and Andreas have got to get out of East Germany. Stuck in dead-end factory jobs after being expelled from school for “agitating against the state,” they’ve got no guarantee of safety and no chance at a better future.
The teens hatch a daring plan: swim over forty miles across the Baltic Sea from their hometown of Rostock to the West German town of Fehmarn. Their grueling twenty-five hour journey is unspeakably dangerous. Hypothermia, exhaustion, jellyfish, a violent summer storm, and the constant threat of being caught by Soviet patrols. Will they find the freedom they so desperately seek, or will the weight of their past drag them under?
Translated by Rachel Ward
Pushkin Children’s Books, August 2021
When sixteen-year-old Daniel befriends Josef Gerlach, he feels the old man is haunted by a secret from his past. Sure enough when Josef gives him his teenage diary to read, Daniel discovers a shocking story of rebellion and struggle.
The diary tells how Josef left the Hitler Youth for a gang called The Edelweiss Pirates. Their uniform: long hair and cool clothes. Their motto: freedom! At first the Pirates are only interested in hanging out and having a good time, but as the situation in Nazi Germany gets worse, they start to plan dangerous missions against Hitler’s regime-soon they are fighting for their lives.
A powerful, moving and important story.Michael Rosen
Translated by Rachel Ward
Arctis Books, October 2021
A biting memoir with an over the top package!
Warning! This book contains Count Dracula’s rather true memoirs. And there are tons of hideous creatures in it. Giant yetis, insidious werewolves, slimy fish monsters … better not read it! You might learn things you didn’t know about monsters before. Hair-raising things that make these monsters appear friendly, even downright human. So, take my advice, you only have one chance: put the book down quickly and move on before you get caught in its clutches!
Watch the book trailer!