Eckhart Nickel

Piper Verlag, April 2022

What is art? A window to the world and a mirror of the soul, or just an enigmatic picture in which “original and fake” are distin- guished? In Spitzweg the narrator learns through the eccentric Carl, his new class mate shortly before graduation, how it works: art as a form of existence. Together they pay homage to the beauti- ful in a sublime hideaway.

When Kirsten, who is admired by both of them, produces a self- portrait that the teacher certifies as having “the courage to be ugly,” events precipitate: Works of art appear and disappear, the girl surfaces and submerges again, and a feverish search begins in which the three repeatedly look into the abysses of life.

But Spitzweg is also the story of two young men who are on the traces of the truth of our existence and believe themselves to be on the receiving end of a chase, while they have long since be- come the vicarious agents of female master plans.

This book was also selected by our jury, read our recommendation of Spitzweg here.

Read an English-language sample translation by Daniel Bowles here.

This book was shortlisted for the German Book Prize 2022. As the media partner for the Prize, we publish information on all six shortlisted books.