Tuesday 8 October 2013

German Book Prize 2013 to Terézia Mora

The German Book Prize - Germany's most attention-grabbing literary award - has gone to the lovely Terézia Mora for her novel Das Ungeheuer. Follow the link to read a sample translation by Zaia Alexander.

The book is the second in a trilogy about a character called Darius Kopp; the first part, Der einzige Mann auf dem Kontinent, appeared in 2009 and was also nominated for the prize. In the new novel, Darius's Hungarian wife Flora has died and he travels around central and eastern Europe with her ashes, smuggled out of Germany. At 688 pages, the book looks longer than it is. That's because it takes place on two levels - yes, literally - with Darius's sad adventures at the top of the pages and Flora's diary, as he reads it, on the bottom halves. The monster of the title is love, by the way, but they wouldn't let her call it Das Ungeheuer Liebe.

I've seen Mora - who also translates from Hungarian, including Peter Esterhazy - reading from the novel, twice in fact. It came across as beautifully written, paper-cut painful and exciting, and I look forward to reading the whole thing. Her debut novel was translated by the great Michael Henry Heim, as Day In Day Out, and I suspect winning the prize will help her get this book into English too. Congratulations!

1 comment:

EP said...

Sounds interesting, also that two-level technique you described. I'm interested in reading that, too.