I know there are a good few Arno Schmidt enthusiasts out there. And presumably they're all holding their breath until 1 October, when the new edition of Zettel's Traum comes out in German.
The book is a mammoth project, originally published in folio format in 1970, presenting Schmidt's typescripts with handwritten corrections, and crossings-out. Each page is divided into three interrelated columns. You can watch a video of someone turning the pages to get an idea of just how wrist-achingly huge it was. Apparently it weighed 17 pounds. And despite the incredible price of 345 DM (or 298 DM for a subscription), the original print run of 2000 copies sold out in three months and is now of course a collector's item.
It tells the "story" of a couple, their daughter and a friend who is considered an expert on literature. The couple are translating Edgar Allen Poe (as was Arno Schmidt), so he comes up rather a lot. Otherwise, they go on long walks and talk a lot with a bit of voyeurism thrown in. All vivid with tiny details and allusions, which Schmidt claimed to have collected beforehand on 120,000 scraps of paper (or Zettel, hence the title - which of course is not as simple as all that, also referring to Bottom's unbelievable dream in Shakespeare, hence the English title). A kind of rural Finnegan's Wake, if you will, only much longer.
Now last time I asked, eminent translator John E. Woods was still plugging away at his English version and hoping to have it published "somewhere" in 2011 0r 2012. So real enthusiasts will probably have to make do with the new German edition for the time being - which will be "set in type and not the offset printing of the original, but like a Real Book" (said John). It'll cost somewhere between €198 and € 448, depending on what edition and subscription model you choose. And to really whet your appetite, the Schmidt expert Marius Fränzel has started a blog on reading it, inventively entitled Zettel's Traum Lesen.