Wednesday, 17 September 2008


So here it is, the shortlist for the German Book Prize. Some surprises, most notably Dietmar Dath and Iris Hanika. See Monday's posting on the longlist for links to the titles.

Dietmar Dath: Die Abschaffung der Arten (Suhrkamp, September 2008)

Sherko Fatah: Das dunkle Schiff (Jung und Jung, February 2008)

Iris Hanika: Treffen sich zwei (Droschl, January 2008)

Rolf Lappert: Nach Hause schwimmen (Hanser, February 2008)

Ingo Schulze: Adam und Evelyn (Berlin Verlag, August 2008)

Uwe Tellkamp: Der Turm (Suhrkamp, September 2008)

Despite claiming that the prize has "intensified debate on the foreign literary and publishing scene," the website gives no indication that translated extracts will be published anywhere. Which I find rather disappointing, to be honest, especially after last year's joint effort with

I'll be picking up what has to be my favourite out of this lot from the bookshop shortly: Sherko Fatah's Das dunkle Schiff. Otherwise, I'm rather nonplussed. Everyone seems to think Ingo Schulze is destined to win, the perfect compromise candidate - but they also agree that Adam und Evelyn is not his strongest book. And it would seem a wasted opportunity to me to choose someone who's already fairly established in the English-speaking world. Not that that's what the prize is about, officially. Naturally enough, I'm disappointed to see that Lukas Bärfuss, Uwe Timm and Karen Duve didn't make the shortlist hurdle. But I think their books are good enough to stand on their own two feet.

All in all? Hmmm.

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