Jury recommendations: Autumn 2023

We are really pleased to share our selection for autumn 2023. The jury chose these titles from just over a hundred that publishers sent to us for consideration. The books here stood out to the jurors as excellent titles that are suitable for an English -language readership.

All of the titles here benefit from our translation funding guarantee.

Books are listed alphabetically, divided into fiction and nonfiction. When you go to the page about the book, you will be able to download all of the information as a pdf.

Fiction

The Shepherd and the Weaver (Die Hirte und de Weberin) – Klara Blum

Aufbau Verlage

Regarded as the most important work by Austrian-Jewish journalist Klara Blum, Der Hirte und die Weberin is a moving love story and testament to one woman’s extraordinary life. The novel is newly rediscovered some fifty years after the author’s death.

Sly Dog (Sahund) – Lion Christ

Hanser Verlag

Sly Dog is an accomplished debut, recounting the coming-of-age story of a young, gay man in 1980s Munich. 

Arson (Arson) – Laura Freudenthaler

Jung und Jung

Arson chronicles the nightmarish scenarios in the daily life of an unnamed narrator as the climate crisis ravages her life, relationships, sleep, and ability to relate to the people around her.

Gittersee (Gittersee) – Charlotte Gneuß

S. Fischer

Charlotte Gneuß’s literary thriller is set in the former East Germany, in the Dresden suburb of Gittersee – a gripping debut from a new talent on the German literary scene.

Property (Eigentum)- Wolf Haas
Hanser Verlag

Prizewinning crime novelist Wolf Haas shares memories of his upbringing in rural Austria and of the days immediately before his mother’s death in this luminous family narrative.

Women At Night (Nachtfrauen) – Maja Haderlap

Suhrkamp

Women At Night is an evocative, multi-layered novel about mother-daughter relationships and identity, set in the Austrian-Slovenian borderlands. 

Wild Maneuvers (Wilde Manöver) – Judith Keller

Luchterhand Literaturverlag

A work of futuristic literary fiction, Judith Keller’s Wilde Manöver is a tale of female friendship and the transformation of our world.

Fourtimes ME (Viermal ICH) – Maria Lazar

Das vergessene Buch – DVB Verlag GmbH

Fourtimes ME is a story of female friendship and betrayal, as well as an account of the societal challenges faced by women during the 1920s.

Until We Become Forest (Bis Wir Wald Werden) – Birgit Mattausch

Klett- Cotta

With striking imagery, a warm tone and unusual stylistic devices, the book offers a view of a little-explored community, interrogating themes such as memory, migration and the natural world.

Picture without Girl (Bild ohne Mädchen) – Sarah Elena Müller

Limmat Verlag

Swiss author Sarah Elena Müller’s nuanced debut, Picture without Girl, tackles the subject of child abuse from an unusual and thought-provoking perspective. Written in spare prose that implies more than it tells, the novel blends references to myth and superstition with a modern, cinematic treatment.

Burden (Packerl) – Anna Neata

Ullstein Buchverlage

Burden is a mesmerising novel, presenting a dynasty of strong female characters and the complex dynamics in their families as they live through the rise and fall of Nazism and experience how the decisions they make play out through the generations. 

Birthmark (Birthmark) – Necati Öziri

Ullstein Buchverlage

Shortlisted for the German Book Prize, Necati Öziri’s Vatermal is a searing debut about family, trauma and coming to terms with the past. Its keen observations, striking imagery and skilled use of humour make this an immersive and memorable read.

The Reason We Remain (Warum wir noch hier sind) – Marlen Pelny
Haymon Verlag

A thoughtfully crafted counterpoint to two well-known literary tropes, Warum wir noch hier sind is an anti-thriller, anti-Berlin novel about life in the wake of unimaginable trauma. Defiantly literary with a distinctly satirical undertone, it focuses on the human impact of violent crime rather than clever detective work.

Chorus of the Erinyes (Chor der Erinnyen) -Marion Poschmann
Suhrkamp Verlag

The Choir of the Furies subtly raises issues over women’s class, aging and power and touches on our damaged relationship to nature, while showcasing Poschmann’s outstanding literary skills and gentle sense of humour.

Pompeii. Or: The Five Speeches of Jowna (Pompeji oder Die fünf Reden des Jowna) – Eugen Ruge
dtv

Holding great appeal for politically engaged readers as well as those interested in classical history, Pompeji is an engaging tale that employs vivid characterisation, a pacey narrative and clever humour to draw us into a fictionalised world.

Ongoing Trial (Laufendes Verfahren) – Kathrin Röggla
S. Fischer

Winner of the prestigious Heinrich Böll Prize and longlisted for the German Book Prize, Laufendes Verfahren is a significant new novel from Austrian author Kathrin Röggla. Acclaimed for her unflinching interrogations of socio-political themes, she here uses a distinctive narrative perspective to examine democracy and justice in the context of the NSU trial, an event that has gone largely unexplored in contemporary literature.

The Couple of the Century (Das Liebespaar des Jahrhunderts) – Julia Schoch
dtv

The second part of a loose trilogy entitled ‘Biography of a Woman’, Das Liebespaar des Jahrhunderts stands alone as an autobiographical novel chronicling the end of a thirty-year relationship.

Tamangur (Tamangur) – Leta Semandeni

Rotpunktverlag

Set in an Alpine village, Tamangur depicts the grief experienced by a young child and her grandmother following the deaths of the child’s brother and grandfather. With its creative imagery and spare prose, Leta Semadeni’s novel explores the intersection between the childlike and the surreal.

Father’s Sea (Vaters Meer) – Deniz Utlu
Suhrkamp Verlag

A novel about memory and migration set between Germany and Turkey, Father’s Sea is a gentle and moving portrait of a family within the framework of a father–son relationship. Even as it explores political and social issues specific to its dual setting, this is a novel that focuses on the human aspect and as such will have broad appeal.

Floating Bridges (Schwebende Brücken) – Maike Wetzel
Schöffling & Co.

Floating Bridges is a work of auto-fiction, recounting the sudden death of Maike Wetzel’s husband in a boating accident. The narrative is raw and authentic, as the author navigates the depths of love, grief, and motherhood, while offering an intimate, intense portrait of her marriage. 

Vertigo (Höhenangst) – Saskia Winkelmann
verlag die brotsuppe

Vertigo is a sensational debut about a young woman’s spiral out of control, by Swiss nightclub DJ Saskia Winkelmann.

Nonfiction

End Times. The New Fear of the End of the World and the Battle for our Future (Endzeit. Die neue Angst vor dem Weltuntergang und der Kampf um unsere Zukunft) – Christian Jakob
Ch. Links Verlag

A journalistic work of international scope, Christian Jakob’s ENDZEIT is a well-balanced and insightful analysis of current thinking about a global apocalypse and the future of life on Earth. Written with great intelligence and engaging wit, it looks at the broad range of challenges facing humanity, offering a timely antidote to the widespread despair often felt in popular discourse and the media.

THE WORLD IS LOUD. A History of Noise – (Die Welt ist laut. Eine Geschichte des Lärms) – Kai-Ove Kessler
Rowohlt

Wide-ranging and informative, Die Welt ist laut is a timely study of noise throughout the history of the world. International in scope yet with a distinctly European flavour, this is an original book that can be used as a reference text as well as appealing to general interest.

The Freedom to Stay (Bleibefreiheit) – Eva von Redecker
S. Fischer

Eva von Redecker’s philosophical essay argues for the need to rethink the concept of freedom in view of the climate crisis. Her work is a fresh and engaging thought experiment at the intersection of philosophy, natural sciences, and environmentalism.

Book photo by Olga Tutunaru on Unsplash