Thursday, 14 February 2008

Recycled: No Sleep Till Leipzig

I can't sleep. I'm so excited. The Leipzig Book Fair Prize nominations have been announced. Woah. Just look at that fiction.

First off, I've read Ulrich Peltzer's 'Teil der Lösung' (Part of the Solution) and it's an absolute cracker, really captures my Berlin, although I found the pace a little stolid at times.

Then there's the excellent and *very* charming Feridun Zaimoglu with a love story revolving around a man who ends up in a coach crash in Turkey. Strangely, Zaimoglu himself was involved in a coach crash in Turkey last year. Haven't read it but it's up near the top of my list.

I don't know much about Jenny Erpenbeck or Sherko Fatah, except that the latter is also very charming and I've briefly met the former's translator, Susan Bernofsky, and found her very down to earth and likeable. This is good news for her.

But the number-one heart-stopping moment for me was reading the name Clemens Meyer on the list, with his new book of short stories. I think he's the most exciting writer in Germany at the moment. I think the whole world should read his books. I think if there were more like him the literary world wouldn't be such a pretentious and at times downright boring place. He reaches the parts other authors cannot reach. He writes about things other authors cannot touch. We're talking wild young men and fucked-up old women, drugs and alcohol and loneliness and friendship. He has lots of tattoos. And a dog, apparently. And his style is so very much his own, lurching through time and place like a lost weekend.

I haven't read the new book yet. I know it will make me even less capable of sleep, but I'll try and give you a blow-by-blow report. And I'm definitely going to the awards ceremony.

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