Friday, 2 January 2009

2009 Kicks Off in 2008

Just in the nick of time, the TLS pipped the post and got in a pre-anniversary-of-the-fall-of-the-wall piece by Jane Yager asking What was the GDR? - with brief reviews of Tellkamp's long Der Turm, Marcel Beyer's dull as dishwater Kaltenburg, Ingo Schulze's charming Adam und Eva - and, er, Lukas Bärfuss' Hundert Tage (my review is here), which isn't about the former East Germany in any way whatsoever, but is well worth reading.

An interesting article, quirkily written if low on insights for anyone who follows German literature in general, but I presume that doesn't apply to all that many Times readers. The turtle Yager refers to in Adam und Eva, by the way, is a tortoise. Just so you don't imagine Adam sitting next to a sloshing aquarium on the passenger seat of his Wartburg all the way to Hungary and back.

4 comments:

sharon in freiburg said...

the difference between a turtle and a tortoise is something that seems to be perceived differently in different english-speaking countries. what i as an australian call a tortoise my american husband calls a turtle-- perhaps the 'turtle' in this review is also an americanism?

kjd said...

Sharon - thanks for pointing this out! I really didn't know that, and it must be an Americanism.

Davud said...

Will you read Der Turm? The subject interests me very much, since I visited the GDR a couple of times. It would be a big time commitment to read it, and the reviews on Amazon are split down the middle.

Here's a tip for a relatively obscure but very good novel about Die Wende: "NovemberMaerchen: keine bleibende Stadt" by Otto Emmersleben.

kjd said...

You know, D, I almost certainly won't. It's really not my kind of book, and while I can appreciate it's probably well written, the extracts I've read have bored me to tears. So I don't want to make that time commitment...

I'm too young to have made it to the GDR - die Gnade der späten Geburt, perhaps. But I know a lot of people who lived there, and a few who made it to the West before the wall fell. I find the subject really interesting too, and one that still offers a great deal of scope for good writing.

I'll keep an eye out for the Emmersleben book, thanks!