Looking Forward to German Literature Month XII!

A few days ago, I was thinking about one of my favourite blogging events, November’s traditional German Literature Month, and wondering why I hadn’t seen anything about this year’s affair.  As it turns out, that’s because host Lizzy Siddal started a new blog recently, and unfortunately I neglected to switch my subscriptions, hence my ignorance…

That’s all rectified now, and having confirmed that GLM XII is happening, I’m very excited to get started in November as I always enjoy a month of German-language reading.  The point of today’s post, then, is to look at a number of recent arrivals, several of which I’ll be reading and reviewing in November – I wonder if any of these are on your GLM wishlist?

My personal theme for the month is very much catching up with old acquaintances, and I’ll start off with some of my favourite male authors.  I’m continuing my trawl through Austrian writer Thomas Bernhard’s back catalogue with the short novel Ja (Yes), and having finished all of W.G. Sebald’s major works, I’m hoping to give Canto Sampo, a collection of unpublished fragments, a try.

Earlier this year, I made my way through a collection of Wolfgang Hilbig’s shorter fiction, which led me to source Eine Übertragung (A Transmission – possibly, hard to be sure without context!), the East German writer’s first novel (although I’m not sure I’ll get to it in November given its size!).  A far more manageable work is Peter Stamm’s Wenn es dunkel wird (It’s Getting Dark), especially as the original doesn’t have the bonus novella Marcia aus Vermont included in the translated version.

Don’t worry, though – there are plenty of female writers on my list, too.  If I get to it, I believe that the story collection Die Lust, gekannt zu sein (The Desire to Be Known) will be my tenth Christa Wolf read, while Judith Hermann’s latest novel Daheim (Back Home), the story of a woman returning to her roots, would be number six.

Another writer whose work I’ve tried many times before is Jenny Erpenbeck, and though I’ve had my eye on her latest novel Kairos for a long time, I only recently managed to get a reasonably priced copy.  Meanwhile, I’ve only read one Herta Müller book before, so I’ll be interested to see what her debut work, Niederungen (Lowlands), is all about.

Those are all my own purchases, but by a happy coincidence, I’ve also been sent a German-language book (in translation) for review.  Scribe Publications are releasing My Soul Twin (in Charlotte Collins’ translation) by Nino Haratischvili, the author of The Eighth Life (for Brilka), and with a publication date (in Australia, at least) of the first of November, it may well be my first review of the month.

Well, enough of my plans – what about you?  Let me know what you’re thinking of reading to celebrate the event, and who knows – you might even influence my next purchase.  Whatever you decide on, happy reading 🙂


13 thoughts on “Looking Forward to German Literature Month XII!

  1. When you mentioned German Literature Month in the September Wrap-up, I thought of doing it too. I don’t know if I’ll be able to read them, but I have a subset of your authors, with different books on my list. Wittgenstein’s Nephew (Bernhard), They Divided the Sky (Wolf), Austerlitz (Sebald, re-read). Waiting for your reviews in November 👋


    1. Grant – An example of how it’s not always best to read in the original language – ‘It’s Getting Dark’ marks the second time the English-language publishers have bundled two of Stamm’s original books into one for the Anglophone audience!


  2. By coincidence I’m now reading several German/Austrian things now as part of the Reading Europe challenge. Just finished Bernhardt’s Extinction (next is going to be something shorter; perhaps my copy of Goethe Dies) and Alina Bronsky’s Broken Glass Park and am starting Peter Stamm’s On A Day Like This. If I can manage to write any reviews, I’ll probably try to post something for German Lit month!
    Last year I read Jenny Erpenbeck’s Go, Went, Gone, which I thought was fantastic. I’m very excited to learn of her newest novel!


    1. Janakay – I’m leaving ‘Extinction’ for a rainy day – plenty of other (shorter) books of his to look at yet! I’ve enjoyed ‘On a Day Like This’ several times, so I’m sure you’ll have fun reading that 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Good to hear about your plans for German Lit month. I’m also keen to read Kairos, so await your review with interest! Of Herta Müller, I’d also recommend der König verneint sich und tötet, a collection of essays and bio pieces, reviewed at Peak Reads.
    I haven’t finalised my plans yet, but following Lizzie’s scheme, I’m going to try Dunkelblum by Eva Menasse for my First Times- I’ve not read anything by her, but have been browsing her books in German and Austrian bookshops for a while.
    I’m also going to try Yael Inokai’s Ein Simpler Eingriff, a debut novelist I think and longlisted for the German Book Prize. This book appealed to me most from the list, I don’t know why. To be reviewed, hopefully!


    1. Mandy – Some different books for you, then 🙂 Hoping ‘Kairos’ will be good, but I’ll do my best to review it next month, anyway.


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