Monday, 1 August 2011

Interesting Links

Three interesting links after two weeks away: first of all to a piece by Emily St. John Mandel at The Millions all about Irmgard Keun. I'm a huge fan of Keun's 1932 hit novel The Artificial Silk Girl, now re-released in English translation, not just as a historical document but as a piece of writing. It contains one of my favourite passages about Berlin, in which the young woman narrator describes what she sees on the streets of Berlin to a blind man in a breathless documentary style. Mandel also tells us about her later novel After Midnight, and you can read my review of Child of All Nations here. So glad this fascinating and talented writer is being rediscovered.

Then there are the fascinating results of a Goethe Institut survey on how the rest of Europe sees Germany. The British statistics are here; explore the site for other countries. Best book in German? Faust.

And thirdly, an interesting attempt at linking places and prose: the project Streetview Literatur. Various German writers have contributed short stories about people going places in four cities (Berlin, Leipzig, Munich and Nuremberg), whose journeys you can follow on Google Maps, get the app or ebook (which don't yet exist), or whatever. Unfortunately I found the site a little lacking: there's no list of the authors involved and the quality of the pieces varies, let's say. Creator Marion Schwer has accompanied the project with a blog, again interesting reading - particularly the piece on whether and how to actually pay the writers for their contributions (under Teilnahme). That's always going to be a problem with exciting no-budget projects like these, I suppose.

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