Category: Germany

Feb 24 2019

Expedition zu den Polen by Steffen Moeller

Steffen Möller’s second genial book about Poland and Germany takes the train ride from Berlin to Warsaw as his frame to share more anecdotes from a life lived in both countries. Möller’s engagement with Poland began more or less on a lark, when he signed up for a language seminar in Krakow in the mid-1990s. …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2019/02/24/expedition-zu-den-polen-by-steffen-moeller/

Feb 09 2019

Why We Took the Car by Wolfgang Herrndorf

Why We Took the Car seems to have established a fixed place in the German YA firmament since its initial publication as Tschick in 2010. Young people read it on their own, they read it for class, and it’s part of the general culture. There was a movie in 2016. It has also done well …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2019/02/09/why-we-took-the-car-by-wolfgang-herrndorf/

Jul 18 2018

Viva Warszawa by Steffen Moeller

Quite by accident, Steffen Möller has found himself one of the most famous contemporary Germans in Poland. He moved there in the mid-1990s for no particularly profound reasons — looking for work, looking for things to be slightly different, looking into a society that was changing rapidly, looking at a place that was at once nearby …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2018/07/18/viva-warszawa-by-steffen-moeller/

Jun 10 2018

Life and Fate by Vasily Grossman

Everything I said here about the greatness of the first half of Life and Fate holds true for the second. What strikes me most is how consistently he captures the contradictions of humanity, in situations both mundane and extreme. Some people are pitiless one moment and turn around and show great compassion the next; they …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2018/06/10/life-and-fate-by-vasily-grossman/

Feb 03 2018

Berlin by Rory MacLean

Rory MacLean gave his book on Berlin the subtitle “Imagine a City.” His American publishers changed this to “Portrait of a City Through the Centuries,” which is odd because it loses the ties to MacLean’s prologue “Imagine” and epilogue “Imagine Berlin.” Further, the book is not a portrait but rather a collection of almost two …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2018/02/03/berlin-by-rory-maclean/

Jan 24 2018

Goodbye, Moskau by Wladimir Kaminer

Wladimir Kaminer left Moscow for Berlin in 1990, and since then he has lived and chronicled the life of a Russian in the German capital. In roughly two dozen books, beginning with Russendisko (Russian Disco, first published in 2000), he explores with droll humor what it’s like to make a new life in a changing …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2018/01/24/goodbye-moskau-by-wladimir-kaminer/

Dec 06 2017

Premature Evaluation: Life and Fate by Vasily Grossman

I first came to Vasily Grossman via excerpts in Ivan’s War, Catherine Merridale‘s amazing book about how ordinary Soviet soldiers experienced the Second World War. That prompted me to pick up A Writer at War, dispatches and stories that he wrote while working as a journalist near the front. I thought it was one of …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2017/12/06/premature-evaluation-life-and-fate-by-vasily-grossman/

Dec 06 2017

The Sinner by Petra Hammesfahr

Y’all that was messed up. I’m a fan of mysteries from way back and have read or watched nearly every type of depravity imaginable, and the reason why Cora Bender, innocuous middle-class housewife, slashes the throat of a stranger on a crowded beach still strikes me as fuuuuuuucked up, even as it is thoroughly convincing. …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2017/12/06/the-sinner-by-petra-hammesfahr/

Sep 18 2017

A Most Wanted Man by John Le Carré

It’s a John Le Carré book, so you know that someone is going to get screwed in the end. In his Cold War books, which were on the whole more subtle in their plotting if not as deft in their characterization, it wasn’t always possible to tell who was doing just what to whom, because …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2017/09/18/a-most-wanted-man-by-john-le-carre/

Sep 14 2017

Europe in Winter by Dave Hutchinson

I should say two things right up front about Europe in Winter. First, intermittently during a bicycle tour across one of Europe’s smaller polities that steadfastly refuses to disappear completely is both the right and wrong way to read this book. Wrong, because it surely deserves closer attention that I was sometimes able to give …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2017/09/14/europe-in-winter-by-dave-hutchinson/