Being a bit of a miser, I'm always pleased to come across bits of books for free on the net. Today there are two different lots for your delectation, both in English and German.
Let's start with the beginner of the two writers, Alina Bronsky. She was one of the competitors for this year's Ingeborg Bachmann Prize, and I quite liked her entry at the time - an extract from her forthcoming debut novel Scherbenpark (lovely cover). That extract is still up on the Bachmann website in Stefan Tobler's translation - and now you can read another chunk of the book in German, courtesy of Perlentaucher. A Russian family in Germany, drama, music, coming of age. I'm starting to think it might be very good indeed...
The other writer up for grabs is Jakob Hein. He's one of the commercial success stories to emerge from (East) Berlin's prose slammers scene. This may or may not be related to the fact that his father is Christoph Hein, himself an excellent and very respected writer, rather than a former GDR border guard or a printer, let's say. But Hein junior is actually very erudite and entertaining, excellent live with a rather self-effacing wit. His previous, lighter books were the kind of thing people I don't know all that well gave me as birthday presents. Now he's written his second "serious" novel - Vor mir den Tag und hinter mir die Nacht. The publishing group Ullstein has launched a platform showcasing new books, and this week's offering is Jakob Hein. You can download chapter two, which I found quite intruiging. Sam Spade meets, erm, The Great Egg Race, for want of a better comparison. Odd, funny, fun.
For all those non-German-speakers out there (you know who you are!), you can download an extract from his 2006 novel, Mr Jensen Quits (trans. Isabel Cole) on Litrix.