Jury recommendations Autumn 2022

We are thrilled to share our selection for Autumn 2022. The jury chose these titles from over a hundred that publishers sent to us for consideration: the books here stood out to the jurors as excellent titles that are also suitable for an English language readership.

All books listed below benefit from financial support for their translation into English if the rights are bought by an English-language publisher.

We hope you will enjoy browsing the selection below, divided into fiction and nonfiction.

Fiction

The Ice Divers (Die Eistaucher), Kaśka Bryla, Residenz Verlag – a universal tale of teenage misfits confronting topical issues such as mental health, the school system, immigration and police corruption.

The Warrior (Die Kriegerin), Helene Bukowski, Aufbau Verlage: Blumenbar – the special friendship between two women as they navigate a violent and threatening world. Tackling universal and topical themes, The Warrior offers a rare insight into women’s lives in the army. 

In Plain Sight (Vor aller Augen), Martina Claavadetscher, Unionsverlag – a dizzying journey through art history in nineteen vignettes, written by the winner of the 2021 Swiss Book Prize.

Lies about my Mother (Lügen über meine Mutter), Daniela Dröscher, Verlag Kiepenheuer & Witsch – poignant, comic and highly readable story of a dysfunctional family which deals with the ever-relevant issue of fattism and a woman’s battle to be in charge of her own body. 

Sisi (Sisi), Karen Duve, Galiani Berlin – historical novel about Empress Elisabeth of Austria, described by The Guardian newspaper as ‘a Habsburg popstar, the first royal celebrity, the earliest example of a woman body-shamed by the media and a long undiscovered 19th century feminist icon’. Sisi is also the subject of two new cinema films and two television series, including a Netflix biopic.

The Fire Tower (Der Feuerturm), Catalin Dorian Florescu, CH Beck – With a sweeping range of characters and events and its motif of the fire tower refracted through multiple timeframes, Florescu’s novel is reminiscent of Seehalter’s Ein Ganzes Leben, William Golding’s The Spire and Koestler’s Darkness at Noon.

Our German Fairy Tale (Unser Deutschlandmärchen), Dinçer Güçyeter, mikrotext – debut novel by a part-time forklift truck driver who has published two volumes of poetry. A candid and convincing family saga told in the voices of three generations from the early twentieth-century to the present, set in Turkey and Germany. 

Into The Unknown (Ins Unbekannte), Lukas Hartmann, Diogenes – a fascinating dual portrait by one of Switzerland’s best-known authors, depicting key moments and common themes in the true lives of two figures yearning for a better life. Sabina Spielrein is a Russian-Jewish physician and one of the first female psychotherapists, and Fritz Platter is a founding member of the Swiss Communist Party and Communist International.  

Rendezvous in Manhattan (Rendezvous in Manhattan), Grete Hartwig-Manschinger, Das vergessene Buch – Set in New York during the Second World War, Rendezvous in Manhattan captures the everyday atmosphere of the bustling city from the point of view of beautiful factory worker as she rises from rags to riches. It is the only novel by the exiled Austrian writer and cabaret artist, Grete Hartwig-Manschinger, who settled in New York after fleeing the Nazis.

Lukusch (Lukusch), Benjamin Heisenberg, Verlag C.H.Beck – a literary detective story, with echoes of Stranger Things: a German filmmaker sets out to find a refugee from the Chernobyl disaster who went to Germany, was catapulted to international fame as a chess wunderkind and then disappeared.  

Story of a Child. Novel (Geschichte eines Kindes. Roman), Anna Kim, Suhrkamp – The award-winning Anna Kim’s story of a baby, given up for adoption in 1950s Wisconsin. Story of a Child tells of social workers’ inconclusive search for the baby’s father and ethnic identity, and the intersection of his story with that of the narrator, an author of Austrian and Korean descent.  

Café of the Invisibles (Café der Unsichtbaren), Judith Kuckart, DuMont Buchverlag – novella is set in modern-day Germany in the offices of a telephone counselling service, focusing on the lives of the seven volunteers there, and the people who phone in – the so-called ‘invisibles’ – who are often on the fringes of society. This is beautifully written, high-quality literary fiction, centred around a fresh and well-executed concept.  

Isidor (Isidor), Shelly Kupferberg, Diogenes Verlag – début work by Shelly Kupferberg, who was born in Tel Aviv and now and works in Berlin as a journalist and presenter. Kupferberg tells of her great-great-uncle Isidor’s meteoric rise and brutal fall, using family letters, photos, old documents and archival finds. 

From Our Fires (Aus unseren Feuern), Domenico Müllensiefen, Kanon Verlag – compelling debut is a coming-of-age story about a teenager growing up in East Germany after reunification. By turns desperate and funny, the first-person narrative focuses on the significance of friendships as well as the social barriers encountered by the protagonists.  

Spitzweg (Spitzweg), Eckhart Nickel, Piper Verlag – tells the story of three young German art enthusiasts who find their new relationship tested by an eccentric revenge plan and their own love triangle, with their coming-of-age mediated by way of the discussion of art.

The Shark in the System (Der Hai im System), Kurt Palm, Leykam Verlag – cutting-edge crime thriller by acclaimed Austrian author, Kurt Palm, tackles difficult themes, including xenophobia, toxic masculinity and gun violence. 

Rosa in Grey – In Search of Home (Rosa in Grau. Eine Heimsuchung), Simone Scharbert, Edition Azur, Voland & Quist – linguistically sparkling, this original novella brings women’s voices to the fore and deals with loss of control, borderline experiences, love, friendship and art. 

A Love Affair in Pyongyang (Eine Liebe in Pjöngjang), Andreas Stichmann, Rowohlt Verlag – latest novel by prize-winning author Andreas Stichmann, set in North Korea. A love story between a German woman and a North Korean woman, it takes a sensitive and complex look at a country that is underrepresented and little-understood in the West. 

The Way to the Border (Der Weg zur Grenze), Grete Weil, Verlag C.H.Beck – hitherto unpublished, autobiographical first novel by the Jewish-German writer Grete Weil, this is an account of the rise of the Nazis and a meditation on questions of politics, responsibility and solidarity in times of crisis.  

Old Girls (Alte Mädchen), Julia Wolf, Frankfurter Verlagsanstalt – a panorama of post-WWII West Germany through the lens of three separate groups of close female friends. Julia Wolf, whose novel Walter Nowak Won’t Get Up was nominated for the German Book Prize, provides a moving account of the trials and tribulations of family structures and a fresh take on friendship across three generations.

Nonfiction

The German -Russian Century – History of a Special Relationship (Das deutsch-russische Jahrhundert. Geschichte einer besonderen Beziehung.), Stefan Creuzberger, Rowohlt Verlag – in this meticulously researched book, historian Stefan Creuzberger presents an in-depth exploration of German-Russian relations in the twentieth century. Compelling and informative, there is no comparable work currently available in English. 

Recapture (Rückeroberung), Daniel Huhn, Hoffmann & Campe – outstanding work of narrative non-fiction tells the thrilling story of Manfred Gans, focusing on his travels across Europe in May 1945 on a quest to find his parents in the Theresienstadt concentration camp. 

Black Resistance. Slavery and Racism in Latin America and the Caribbean (Schwarzer Widerstand. Sklaverei und Rassismus in Lateinamerika und der Karibik), Toni Keppeler, Rotpunktverlag – an accessible history of enslaved Africans and their descendants in the Caribbean and Latin America, from the beginning of European colonialism to the present day. Written by a journalist who has spent his career in these regions, it shows how contemporary issues facing Black people and their resistance movements have their roots in the colonial period. 

1938 – What We Could All See Then, and What We Can All See Now (1938 – Warum wir heute genau hinschauen müssen), Barbara Schieb, Jutta Hercher, Elisabeth Sandmann Verlag –  a poignant selection of historical texts about the events of 1938 in Germany and Austria, with sections explaining the context and relevance to contemporary politics. 

Villa Verde, or: the Hotel in San Remo. The Benjamin Family’s Exile in Italy (Villa Verde oder das Hotel in San Remo. Das italienische Exil der Familie Benjamin), Eva Weissweiler, btb – a rare and detailed examination of the life of Walter Benjamin’s first wife, Dora Sophie Kellner, in the context of the political upheaval and antisemitism of 1930s Germany. In view of the ongoing war in Ukraine, it provides a timely reminder of the human cost of war in many spheres of life, not least the artistic world.  

Browse all recommendations from Autumn 22

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