Category: Germany

Reading Munich — München erlesen

München erlesen 1

The first great virtue of the 20-volume “München erlesen” (Selected Munich, with a bit of a pun on the German word for reading) series is the simple fact of its existence. There are not many provincial capitals that could support a literary series that runs to 20 books, let alone one with the quality of …

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2022/04/02/reading-munich-munchen-erlesen/

Wir sind Gefangene by Oskar Maria Graf

Wir sind Gefangene by Oskar Maria Graf

For about the first eighty percent of Wir sind Gefangene (We Are Prisoners), my assessment of the book was that I could see why it was a sensation in the 1920s but couldn’t see much to recommend it for readers of the 2020s. It begins with Graf is at school in the small Bavarian town …

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2022/03/18/wir-sind-gefangene-by-oskar-maria-graf/

Das Erwachen by Josef Ruederer

Das Erwachen by Josef Ruederer

I admired the conception of Das Erwachen (The Awakening) more than I enjoyed its execution. As Josef Ruederer’s widow Elisabeth wrote in an brief introductory note, “[He] wanted to portray life — history and people — in his home city through the nineteenth century up to the present [1916] in a four-volume novel.” Unfortunately, he …

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2021/10/17/das-erwachen-by-josef-ruederer/

What You Can See from Here by Mariana Leky

Hey, Doug, I’m reading a novel translated from the German! Ably translated into English by Tess Lewis, who’s done a really good job, in particular, of getting the song lyrics from the 1980s not quite right when the characters are explaining them to one another. What You Can See From Here is an interesting sort …

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2021/06/22/what-you-can-see-from-here-by-mariana-leky/

Die Olympiasiegerin by Herbert Achternbusch

There’s a scene in “Before Sunrise” where the young couple encounters two Austrian guys who tell the visitors about a play they are putting on, an eye-rolling bit of Continental pretension. Man with tie: This is a play we’re both in, and we would like to invite you. Céline: You’re actors? Man with tie: No, …

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2021/03/21/die-olympiasiegerin-by-herbert-achternbusch/

Der ewige Spießer by Ödön von Horváth

Ödön von Horváth was born in 1901 in what was then the Austro-Hungarian port city of Fiume and is now known as Rijeka, Croatia. His name and his family background reflect a Mitteleuropa that was thriving (at least for some people) when he was born, was damaged by the First World War, and practically destroyed …

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2021/03/14/der-ewige-spieser-by-odon-von-horvath/

Und keiner weint mir nach by Siegfried Sommer

Und keiner weint mir nach

When the editors of the Süddeutsche Zeitung planned out their 20-book set “Selected Munich,” Siegfried Sommer must have seemed a natural to kick off the series. He had been born in the city in 1914, died there in 1996, lived practically all of his life in Munich except for his time in the army during …

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2020/09/20/und-keiner-weint-mir-nach-by-siegfried-sommer/

Die Schaukel by Annette Kolb

Die Schaukel

As the story of an artistic family in a materialistic time, Die Schaukel reminded me of The Family Fang, though of course Kolb’s work predates Kevin Wilson’s novel by more than three quarters of a century. The Lautenschlags are a Franco-German family who moved from Paris to Munich not long after the Franco-Prussian War led …

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2020/08/11/die-schaukel-by-annette-kolb/

D-Day Through German Eyes by Holger Eckhertz

D-Day Through German Eyes

Holger Eckhertz’s grandfather, Dieter Eckhertz, was a wartime correspondent for German army publications such as Signal and Die Wehrmacht (The Army). Shortly before the Allied landings in Normandy, he visited that sector and interviewed quite a number of soldiers while preparing articles for the army’s magazines. After the war, he left journalism, but ten years …

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2020/04/15/d-day-through-german-eyes-by-holger-eckhertz/

Süden und der Strassenbahntrinker by Friedrich Ani

Süden und der Straßenbahntrinker

Tabor Süden works for the Munich police in the missing persons bureau. One day, a man turns up in their offices and says he is back, they don’t need to look for him anymore. Problem is, no one had reported him missing. That would be odd, but relatively easy to dismiss except that over the …

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2019/11/12/suden-und-der-strassenbahntrinker-by-friedrich-ani/