Treichel’s first novel, published in English in 2000 under the title of Lost, was the story of a missing child, based on his family’s own experience. This short book picks up the theme again. The narrator recalls how his parents lost their eldest child Günter in their flight from the Russians at the end of the war, their vain search to find him, and what that loss meant also to the children born later.
At the beginning Treichel as narrator has already been to his father’s birthplace in the Ukraine. Now he is in a train from Berlin to his mother’s birthplace in Poland, the small town of the title, where, at the very end of the book, he becomes more or less reconciled to his parents’ sad story of loss and inhibition. He has also been in touch with the man who, as a child, was thought by his parents to be possibly their son but whose DNA tests prove negative.
Treichel, professor at Leipzig, poet and novelist, writes extremely well. A joy for the literati. Impetus perhaps also to re-explore an exquisite earlier short novel, Tristanakkord.
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Suhrkamp Verlag was founded in 1950 by Peter Suhrkamp and directed for over forty years by Dr. Siegfried Unseld. The independent publishing company now includes Insel Verlag (founded in Leipzig in 1899), the Jüdischer Verlag (founded in Berlin in 1902), as well as the Deutscher Klassiker Verlag (established in 1981) and the newly founded Verlag der Weltreligionen (established in 2006). Suhrkamp focuses on both contemporary literature and the humanities. Its distinguished list includes leading writers from Germany, Switzerland and Austria, many of whom made their debuts with the firm, besides major international authors of both fiction and non-fiction, including several Nobel Prize winners.
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