You Londoners are in for a treat. Not only will you soon be able to read Julia Franck's just plain fantastic prose when Anthea Bell's translation of Die Mittagsfrau comes out in English The Blind Side of the Heart - as will the rest of us, of course. You'll also have the chance to see Julia Franck in person at the Goethe Institut, in discussion with A S Byatt, Bell herself and Rosie Goldsmith.
I'm a big unabashed fan of Julia Franck, and genuinely loved Die Mittagsfrau, which won the German Book Prize in 2007. It's the story of a woman who abandons her child, and how the course of her life steers her into that position at the end of WWII. Although you know from the very beginning that the child will be abandoned, it's impossible to imagine how it might come to that.
Right now I'm reading Franck's previous novel, Lagerfeuer, which is just as impressive but perhaps slightly less conventional. And if anyone were to ask the slightly bizarre question of which writer I'd like to play me in the film of my life, the answer would have to be: Julia Franck, and not just because of the physical resemblance.
The discussion is on 11 June, and you can get hold of the book from the 4th. My advice - take two days off work, immerse yourself in the book and then go to the Goethe Institut once you've finished it but are still trapped in the troubled lives of its characters.