Der Zweite Jacob


Der Zweite Jacob / The Second Jacob

Norbert Gstrein

Carl Hanser Verlag, February 2021

This book was shortlisted for the German Book Prize 2021. As the media partner for the Prize, we publish information on all six shortlisted books.

‘Of course nobody wants to turn sixty.’ This is how Jacob’s confession of a lifetime begins. He is a well-known actor, and is planning to publish his biography. But Jakob is terrified of what will come next. Then his daughter Luzie poses the question: ‘What’s the worst thing you’ve ever done?’ And this causes an explosion in this nail-biting book.  

Jacob recalls doing a film shoot years ago on the Mexican-American border. He remembers women being murdered and the terrible conditions in general, but he only ever witnessed these things from afar. Twice, however, he found himself in the middle of sinister events. Jacob is ashamed and struggles with the simplistic verdicts of the outside world. In his vivid memories, he longs for happiness and fears his own mortality, like a child fears the dark. Why is he never the original but always ‘the second Jacob’? 

Norbert Gstrein born in 1961 in Tyrol, lives in Hamburg. His award-winning work is published by Carl Hanser Verlag; his most recent novels are The Coming Years (2018) and When I Was Young (2019), which was awarded the Austrian Book Prize. 

Read an English-language sample translation here

Read our recent interview with the author here

Read our recommendation of The Second Jacob here

Read our recommendation of Gstrein’s The Years to Come here