Wednesday 14 August 2013

German Book Prize Longlist 2013

They've announced this year's longlist for the major German prize for novels. I've linked to each of the twenty titles:

Mirko Bonné: Nie mehr Nacht (Schöffling & Co., August 2013)
Ralph Dutli: Soutines letzte Fahrt (Wallstein, March 2013)
Thomas Glavinic: Das größere Wunder (Hanser, August 2013)
Norbert Gstrein: Eine Ahnung vom Anfang (Hanser, May 2013)
Reinhard Jirgl: Nichts von euch auf Erden (Hanser, February 2013)
Daniel Kehlmann: F (Rowohlt, September 2013)
Judith Kuckart: Wünsche (DuMont, March 2013)
Olaf Kühl: Der wahre Sohn (Rowohlt.Berlin, September 2013)
Dagmar Leupold: Unter der Hand (Jung und Jung, July 2013)
Jonas Lüscher: Frühling der Barbaren (C. H. Beck, January 2013)
Clemens Meyer: Im Stein (S. Fischer, August 2013)
Joachim Meyerhoff: Wann wird es endlich wieder so, wie es nie war (Kiepenheuer & Witsch, February 2013)
Terézia Mora: Das Ungeheuer (Luchterhand, September 2013)
Marion Poschmann: Die Sonnenposition (Suhrkamp, August 2013)
Thomas Stangl: Regeln des Tanzes (Droschl, September 2013)
Jens Steiner: Carambole (Dörlemann, August 2013)
Uwe Timm: Vogelweide (Kiepenheuer & Witsch, August 2013)
Nellja Veremej: Berlin liegt im Osten (Jung und Jung, February 2013)
Urs Widmer: Reise an den Rand des Universums (Diogenes, August 2013)
Monika Zeiner: Die Ordnung der Sterne über Como (Blumenbar, March 2013)

I'm getting a sense of déja vu. There's a mix of major and minor publishers, solvent and insolvent, mostly men and some women, local and global settings, faux-genre and standard litfic, solid and quirky, a couple of debuts, a few established writers and a few with other native languages. Reading the publishers' blurbs doesn't help matters, as many of their formulations are a tad overused. Some writers are available in English translation: Glavinic, Gstrein, Kehlmann, Meyer, Mora, Timm and Widmer. Some seem to be on the list merely to call attention to their work rather than with any intent to give them a prize. A few have been on previous longlists but not won.

But then there's Clemens Meyer's Im Stein, which doesn't fit into any category. I would like it to win. I would like English-language publishers to buy the rights. I would like everyone in the whole world to know how good it is. I'm glad there's a book that makes me feel less jaded on those days when the publishing world makes me feel cynical.

The now traditional reader containing extracts from all twenty novels will be available "in good bookstores" as of next week, allegedly. I shall do my best to track it down and report in more detail before the shortlist is announced on 11 September.