Peirene Press

Peirene Press
Peirene Press
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Peirene Press is an award-winning boutique publishing house, specialising in contemporary European novellas and short novels in English translation.
Peirene Press
Peirene Pressadded a book to the bookshelfPeirene Presslast month
‘I can’t remember what it was like being born, but from what they used to tell me it seemed almost as if everything had been fine up to that point.’Standing in her family’s two-bedroom flat in the Promised Land, a little girl realizes that once again she won’t be getting a cat for her birthday. She’s been wanting one ever since she was five — all the way back to when they were living in the refugee camp. In the East, her Grandma made cakes and kept rabbits; now there is no baking, no pets and certainly no Grandma. West Germany in the early 1960s is a difficult place for a seven-year-old East German refugee, particularly when no one will listen to you.Why Peirene chose to publish this book:Today, as in the past, people flee from one country to another in the hope of finding a better future. But how do children experience such displacement? How do they cope with traumas of a refugee camp? In this novel Birgit Vanderbeke goes back to her own childhood in the divided Germany of the 1960s. She shows how the little girl she once was saved herself by imagining countries on the far side of the world. A masterpiece of memory turned into fiction.‘A hauntingly brilliant evocation of childhood.’Jackie Law, Never Imitate‘A graceful, feather-light novel whose true weight is revealed only gradually.’MDK Kultur
Peirene Press
Peirene Pressadded a book to the bookshelfPeirene Press4 months ago
1819. Iax Agolasky, a young assistant to a notable French explorer, sets off on a journey to the Russian wilderness.They soon discover a group of creatures living in a cave: children with animal traits. But are they animals, or are they human? Faced with questions of faith, science and the fundamentals of truth, tensions rise in the camp. Soon the children’s safety becomes threatened and Agolasky needs to act.The novel is based on the photo series and synopsis by Pekka Nikrus.Why Peirene chose to publish this book:Greek legends, fables and fairy tales all share an interest in mythical beings. In this book Sammalkorpi imagines what would happen if these creatures really existed. How would we respond? The answer to this question matters hugely. It determines what it means to be human.‘A truly enjoyable read with its beautiful and precise language.’ Savonia prize jury'One of the most ambitious works of this year. A novel that deals with what it means to be human and the associated ethical and moral questions.’Kuvastaja prize jury
Peirene Press
Peirene Pressadded a book to the bookshelfPeirene Press10 months ago
Relaxing Nordic hygge in a novel; the entire story takes place in two minutes.In this story we hear the voices of an Icelandic fishing village. On a summer’s day a young woman in a polka-dot dress cycles down the main street. Her name is Kata and she is the village choir conductor. As she passes, we glimpse the members of the village: a priest with a gambling habit, an old brother and sister who have not talked for years, and a sea captain who has lost his son. But perhaps the most interesting story of all belongs to the young woman on the bicycle. Why is she reticent to talk about her past?Why Peirene chose to publish this book:Reading this book was like embarking on a gentle journey — with music in my ears and wind in my hair. Yes, there is some darkness in the tales, and not every character is happy. But the story is told with such empathy that I couldn’t help but smile and forgive the flaws that make us human.'A heart-warming gem of a novel' David Mills, The Sunday Times'An exceptional novel, full of music, sun and longing’Fréttablaðið
Peirene Press
Peirene Pressadded a book to the bookshelfPeirene Press10 months ago
An extraordinary piece of international survival literature, joining the likes of Primo Levi and Anne Frank. In 1941, 14-year-old Dalia and her family are deported from their native Lithuania to a labour camp in Siberia. As the strongest member of her family she submits to twelve hours a day of manual labour. At the age of 21, she escapes the gulag and returns to Lithuania. She writes her memories on scraps of paper and buries them in the garden, fearing they might be discovered by the KGB. They are not found until 1991, four years after her death. This is the story Dalia buried. The immediacy of her writing bears witness not only to the suffering she endured but also the hope that sustained her. It is a Lithuanian tale that, like its author, beats the odds to survive.Why Peirene chose to publish this book:There is only one word to describe this book, extraordinary. It blew me away when I first read it in German translation. Dalia’s account goes far beyond a memoir. This is an outstanding piece of literature which should be read by anyone who wishes to understand the Soviet repression.'A distressing historic document and a literary work of great significance.' Neue Zürcher Zeitung'An incredible force of language … the story of constant indignation.’JFrankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung
Peirene Press
Peirene Pressadded a book to the bookshelfPeirene Press10 months ago
Most novels are written by professional writers using second hand material. Not this one. Peirene commissioned nine refugees to tell their ‘Shatila Stories’. The result is a piece of collaborative fiction unlike any other. If you want to understand the chaos of the Middle East — or you just want to follow the course of a beautiful love story — start here.Adam and his family flee Syria and arrive at the Shatila refugee camp in Beirut. Conditions in this overcrowded Palestinian camp are tough, and violence defines many of the relationships: a father fights to save his daughter, a gang leader plots to expand his influence, and drugs break up a family. Adam struggles to make sense of his refugee experience, but then he meets Shatha and starts to view the camp through her eyes.Why Peirene chose to publish this book:I want to hear their stories and see if their imaginations can open up a new path of understanding between us. Collaborative works of literature can achieve what no other literature can do. By pooling our imaginations we are able to access something totally different and new that goes beyond boundaries — that of the individual, of nations, of cultures. It connects us to our common human essence: our creativity. Let’s make stories, not more war.'This remarkable novel isn’t about the refugee voice; it is born from it and told through it. On every page, the glint of hope for dignity and a better life is heartbreakingly alive.' Khaled Hosseini, author of The Kite Runner'Both from a humanitarian standpoint and an artistic perspective, Peirene are doing invaluable work in finding new voices who open our eyes, ears and hearts to worldly reality in all its profound suffering, joy, community, isolation and complexity.’Bidisha, Writer and Broadcaster.
Peirene Press
Peirene Pressadded a book to the bookshelfPeirene Press10 months ago
The literary bestseller that took the Baltics by storm now published for the first time in English.This novel considers the effects of Soviet rule on a single individual. The central character in the story tries to follow her calling as a doctor. But then the state steps in. She is deprived first of her professional future, then of her identity and finally of her relationship with her daughter. Banished to a village in the Latvian countryside, her sense of isolation increases. Will she and her daughter be able to return to Riga when political change begins to stir?Why Peirene chose to publish this book:At first glance this novel depicts a troubled mother-daughter relationship set in the the Soviet-ruled Baltics between 1969 and 1989. Yet just beneath the surface lies something far more positive: the story of three generations of women, and the importance of a grandmother giving her granddaughter what her daughter is unable to provide — love, and the desire for life.'Nora Ikstena is proving that Latvia is speaking in a bold and original voice.' Rosie Goldsmith, broadcaster and reviewer'Nora Ikstena’s fiction opens up new paths not only for Latvian literature in English translation but for English literature itself.' Jeremy Davis, Dalkey Archive Press
Soviet Milk, Nora Ikstena
Peirene Press
Peirene Pressadded a book to the bookshelfPeirene Press10 months ago
A tragicomic satire from the heart of East Germany. Gabriela grows up in the East German town of Leibnitz. Her father is a famous surgeon, her mother a respected society hostess. The girl, however, struggles to fulfil their expectations. She shows no talent as a violinist and, worse, she fails to choose the right friends at school. When her father falls out of favour with the communists, Gabriela drops out of school. Eventually she ends up living beneath a canal bridge. Then the Wall falls. Can Gabriela seize a second chance in the new, united, Germany?Why Peirene chose to publish this book:'When I pass homeless women, I look into their faces and wonder: why her and not me? I sense that maybe our differences are not as great as I would like to believe. Dance by the Canal tells the story of a woman who fails to find her place in society — neither in communist GDR nor in the capitalist West. Her refusal to conform to the patriarchal structures of both societies forces her into ever-increasing isolation. This book will make you think.' Meike Ziervogel, publisher at Peirene Press'An intense story… grotesque, macabre, poetic.'Neues Deutschland'An authentic story of East Germany.' Die Ost-West-Wochenzeitung'30 years of East German history narrated with laconic irony.' Die Zeit
Peirene Press
Peirene Pressadded a book to the bookshelfPeirene Press10 months ago
The Cut is a Brexit novel. The story offers a fictional response to a complex issue. It is also a plot-driven page-turner by one of the most exciting novelists in the country.Cairo Jukes, a boxer from Dudley, supports himself on zero-hour contracts. He has grown up among the canals — or the cuts — that web the Black Country like the open veins of an old industrial order. Then he meets Grace, a successful documentary film maker from London.The Cut will not put you at ease. It describes a relationship built on misunderstandings, intolerance and guilt — one where each side desires something that the other cannot give.‘Writing The Cut made me understand that we live in a country where we see prejudice in others but not in ourselves. This is a lesson that I, and my two characters Cairo and Grace, have tried to learn, with varying levels of success. It is a hard lesson for us all.’ Anthony Cartwright:Why Peirene chose to commission this book:'The result of the EU referendum shocked me. I realized that I had been living in one part of a divided country. What fears — and what hopes — drove my fellow citizens to vote for Brexit? I commissioned Anthony Cartwright to build a fictional bridge between the Britains that opposed each other on referendum day.’ Meike Ziervogel, publisher at Peirene PressPraise for Anthony Cartwright:‘A writer with a wonderful ear … and an unblinking sense of Britain as it is today. Anthony Cartwright’s patient, attentive storytelling shines a glowing light on areas of our common experience that the English novel usually consigns to darkness.'Jonathan Coe‘A compelling protest against simple answers that lingers in the mind long after the final page.’Wyl Menmuir'A bittersweet elegy to Britain's battered working classes.'Metro
The Cut, Anthony Cartwright
Peirene Press
Peirene Pressadded a book to the bookshelfPeirene Press10 months ago
Madness lurks behind the pretty façade of everyday life.An elderly lady offers a young woman a piece of cake. She accepts. The lady resembles the Austrian Empress Elisabeth and lives with her servant in an apartment full of bizarre souvenirs. More invitations follow. A seemingly harmless visit to the museum turns into a meticulously planned raid to steal a royal cocaine syringe. Without realizing, the young woman has become the lady’s accomplice. Does she realize she is losing control?Why Peirene chose to publish this book: 'On the surface this is a clever thriller-cum-horror story of three women and their descent into addiction, crime and madness. And at times it’s very funny. But don’t be fooled. The book also offers an exploration of the way the mind creates its own realities and — quite often — deludes us into believing that we control what is actually controlling us. Uncanny, indeed.' Meike Ziervogel‘Linda Stift breaks the world down into frightening fragments. Impressive.’ taz'Such a wicked psychothriller can only come from Vienna.’ KulturSPIEGEL‘The reader finds themselves in the situation of Kafka’s Josef K: drifting towards the inevitable.’ Literaturkritik.de
Peirene Press
Peirene Pressadded a book to the bookshelfPeirene Press10 months ago
breach — noun: An act of breaking or failing to observe a law, agreement, or code of conduct. A gap in a wall, barrier, or defence, especially one made by an attacking army.breach — verb: Make a gap in and break through (a wall, barrier, or defence). (Of a whale) rise and break through the surface of the water.‘The Jungle is like a laboratory.’In the refugee camp known as 'The Jungle' an illusion is being disrupted: that of a neatly ordered world, with those deserving safety and comfort separated from those who need to be kept out. Calais is a border town. Between France and Britain. Between us and them. The eight short stories in this collection explore the refugee crisis through fiction. They give voice to the hopes and fears of both sides. Dlo and Jan break into refrigerated trucks bound for the UK. Marjorie, a volunteer, is happy to mingle in the camps until her niece goes a step too far. Mariam lies to her mother back home. With humour, insight and empathy breach tackles an issue that we can no longer ignore. breach is the first title in the Peirene Now! series. This exciting new series will be made up of commissioned works of new fiction, which engage with the political issues of the day. In breach, the authors beautifully capture a multiplicity of voices — refugees, volunteers, angry citizens — whilst deftly charting a clear narrative path through it all. Each story is different in tone, and yet they complement one another perfectly. Taken as a whole, this stands as an empathetic and probing collage, where the words ‘home’, ‘displacement’ and ‘integration’ come to mean many things as the collection progresses to a moving finale.Why Peirene chose to commission this book: ‘I have commissioned Olumide Popoola and Annie Holmes to go to the Calais refugee camps to distil stories into a work of fiction about escape, hope and aspiration. On another level, however, this work will also take seriously the fears of people in this country who want to close their borders. It’s that dialogue that isn’t happening in real life. A work of art can help to bridge the gap.’ Meike Ziervogel, publisher
‘This is what fiction is for. These stories refresh difficult territory in ways that other writing cannot reach. Tender, tragic, funny (sometimes), persuasive.’ Sara Maitland, writer
Peirene Press
Peirene Pressadded a book to the bookshelfPeirene Press10 months ago
A psychological thriller by the pioneering German writer Ricarda Huch. A novel of letters from the last century — but one with an astonishingly modern feel. Now for the first time in English..Russia at the beginning of the 20th century. To counter student unrest, the governor of St Petersburg closes the state university. Soon afterwards he arrives at his summer residence with his family and receives a death threat. His worried wife employs a young bodyguard, Lju, to protect her husband. Little does she know that Lju sides with the students — and the students are plotting an assassination. Why Peirene chose to publish this book:'I came upon this novel in the original German a year ago. And I loved it. It’s a proper epistolary novel. Even though written more than 100 years ago, it feels as relevant now as then. The Last Summer asks how people can be trapped by an ideology? A topical story. An enjoyable read. A gem.'Meike Ziervogel, publisher‘I was gripped by this remarkable short novel, a cavalcade of individual voices emerge with great freshness from the shadow of revolution. It is both a work of its time, and a timeless work.’ Imogen Robertson'She is the First Lady of Germany. No, she is probably the First Lady of Europe.’ Thomas Mann‘The very model of the stylish female troublemaker… a social revolutionary in the deepest sense.’ Clive James
Peirene Press
Peirene Pressadded a book to the bookshelfPeirene Press10 months ago
An impressively entertaining tale about the frailty of human civilisation by the leading Flemish writer Peter Verhelst, now for the first time in English.Warning: This story is narrated by a gorilla. He is plucked from the jungle. He learns to chat and passes the ultimate test: a cocktail party. Eventually he is moved to an amusement park, where he acts in a play about the history of civilisation. But as the gorilla becomes increasingly aware of human frailties, he must choose between his instincts and his training, between principles and self-preservation.Why Peirene chose to publish this book: This is Peirene's first book narrated by an ape. Animal fables are usually not my thing. It needed Belgian deadpan humour to convince me otherwise. Mixing Huxley's Brave New Worldwith Orwell's Animal Farm, the fast-paced plot leaves behind images that play in your mind long after you have closed the book.Meike ZiervogelSimple, but wonderful and impassioned.De Standaard<.A heart-warming novella in bleak times. Humo
Peirene Press
Peirene Pressadded a book to the bookshelfPeirene Press10 months ago
A tragic love story about two sisters who cannot live with or without each other.Far out on the plains of northern Norway stands a house. It belongs to two middle-aged sisters. They seldom venture out and nobody visits. The older needs nursing and the younger keeps house. Then, one day, a man arrives…Why Peirene chose to publish this book: ‘This is a tragedy about a woman who yearns for love but ends up in a painfully destructive conflict with her sister. It is also a story about loneliness – both geographical and psychological. Facing the prospect of a life without love, we fall back into isolating delusions at exactly the moment when we need to connect.’Meike Ziervogel‘It’s a liberating feeling when you get a completely original story in your hands.’Dagbladet‘Raw and dark and wonderfully different from anything else.’Dag og Tid‘Innovative and sensuous.’Bergens Tidende
Peirene Press
Peirene Pressadded a book to the bookshelfPeirene Press10 months ago
A beautiful homage to the art of reading — light and funny. A celebration of the union of sensuality and language.Marie-Constance loves reading and possesses an attractive voice. So, one day she decides to put an ad in the local paper offering her services as a paid reader. Her first client, a paralysed teenager, is transformed by her reading of a Maupassant short story. Marie-Constance’s fame spreads and soon the rich, the creative and the famous clamour for her services.Why Peirene chose to publish this book: ‘The premise of the story is brilliant: a woman who loves reading aloud acquires — without realizing — power over others. What’s true for her clients becomes real for you, the reader of this book. As you turn the pages, think of Marie-Constance as the personification of ‘reading’ itself. And I promise you an experience you will never forget.’Meike Ziervogel‘A clever, funny, and humane work that champions the power of literature.’David Mills,Sunday Times'An entertaining, sensuous and, above all, fun outing into the converging worlds of reading, language and sexuality.'Pam Norfolk,Lancashire Evening Post'Reader for Hiremight be the perfect book — written with an elegance whose validity it also questions.'Joanna Walsh,The National'An excellent new translation of a novel . . . written with a lightness of touch.'Harry Ritchie,Daily Mail‘A beautiful love declaration to the art of reading. A book that will make you want to read more books.’Cosmopolitan
Reader for Hire, Raymond Jean
Peirene Press
Peirene Pressadded a book to the bookshelfPeirene Press10 months ago
What does it take to survive? This is the question posed by the extraordinary Finnish novella that has taken the Nordic literary scene by storm.1867: a year of devastating famine in Finland. Marja, a farmer’s wife from the north, sets off on foot through the snow with her two young children. Their goal: St Petersburg, where people say there is bread. Others are also heading south, just as desperate to survive. Ruuni, a boy she meets, seems trustworthy. But can anyone really help?Why Peirene chose to publish this book: ‘Like Cormac McCarthy’sThe Road, this apocalyptic story deals with the human will to survive. And let me be honest: There will come a point in this book where you can take no more of the snow-covered desolation. But then the first rays of spring sun appear and our belief in the human spirit revives. A stunning tale.’Meike Ziervogel‘White Hungeris Aki Ollikainen’s debut work, but it is written with the control of someone who has mastered the form.’Nicholas Lezard,Guardian‘Such a powerful, honest and thought-provoking story deserves an audience far beyond the shores of Scandinavia.’Pam Norfolk,Lancashire Evening Post‘Impossible not to respond to its raw, unsparing drama.’Elizabeth Bucan,Daily Mail‘A tale of epic substance compacted into a mere seven-score pages.’Ben Paynter,Los Angeles Review of Books
White Hunger, Aki Ollikainen
Peirene Press
Peirene Pressadded a book to the bookshelfPeirene Press10 months ago
A fascinating portrait of a pre-Gaddafi society on the verge of change.Tripoli in the 1960s. A sweltering, segregated society. Hadachinou is a lonely boy. His mother shares secrets with her best friend Jamila while his father prays at the mosque. Sneaking through the sun-drenched streets of Tripoli, he listens to the whispered stories of the women. He turns into an invisible witness to their repressed desires while becoming aware of his own.Why Peirene chose to publish this book: ‘This is a fascinating portrait of a closed society. On the surface this quiet vignette of a story could be read as gently nostalgic, but underneath the author reveals the seething tensions of a traditional city coming to terms with our modern world. The book gives us privileged access to a place where men and women live apart and have never learned to respect each other.’Meike Ziervogel‘The reader feels he is peeking through a half-drawn curtain on a secret feminine world in a patriarchal society . .. Excellent.’David Mills,Sunday Times‘Beautifully simple and restrained prose.’Lucy Popescu,Huffington Post‘It ought to be commended for its lack of sentimentality about this much-mythologized chapter of modern Libya.’Hasham Matar,Times Literary Supplement‘A short but shimmering read.’Malcolm Forbes,National
Peirene Press
Peirene Pressadded a book to the bookshelfPeirene Press10 months ago
A novel about a mother-daughter relationship that will send a chill down your spine.Johanne is a young woman in her twenties who lives with her mother. When she falls in love with Ivar, she finally feels ready to leave home. The couple plan a trip to America. But the morning of her departure, Johanne wakes up to find the door locked. Can she overcome her fears? Will she shout for help? Will she climb out of her fourth floor window?Why Peirene chose to publish this book: ‘Everyone who has read Fifty Shades of Grey should read this book. Why? The Blue Room holds up a mirror to a part of the female psyche that yearns for submission. The story shows how erotic fantasies are formed by the relationship with our parents. It then delves further to analyse the struggle of women to separate from their mothers — a struggle that is rarely addressed in either literature or society.’ Meike Ziervogel‘A masterpiece of unreliable narration.’ Nicholas Lezard, Guardian‘A highly unusual, coolly daring psychological thriller that explores emotional pain and indifference with an unsettling detachment.’ Eileen Battersby, Irish Times‘A work of chilling, masterly control.’ Laura Profumo, Times Literary Supplement‘Nothing is certain, no motive is clear and no person is above suspicion in Ørstavik’s perfectly pitched, tightly stitched and captivating brain-teaser.’ Pam Norfolk, Lancashire Evening Post‘Ørstavik treats the everyday and existential with intensity.’ Max Liu, Independent‘Psychologically astute and deftly translated . .. A brilliant examination of a woman struggling to own her sexuality, to break free from the guilt and forge her own identity.’ Lucy Popescu, TabletGUARDIAN PAPERBACKS OF THE YEAR 2014
Peirene Press
Peirene Pressadded a book to the bookshelfPeirene Press10 months ago
A haunting Russian tale about the environmental legacy of the Cold War.Yerzhan grows up in a remote part of Soviet Kazakhstan where atomic weapons are tested. As a young boy he falls in love with the neighbour’s daughter and one evening, to impress her, he dives into a forbidden lake. The radioactive water changes Yerzhan. He will never grow into a man. While the girl he loves becomes a beautiful woman.Why Peirene chose to publish this book: ‘Like a Grimm’s fairy tale, this story transforms an innermost fear into an outward reality. We witness a prepubescent boy’s secret terror of not growing up into a man. We also wander in a beautiful, fierce landscape unlike any other we find in Western literature. And by the end of Yerzhan’s tale we are awe-struck by our human resilience in the face of catastrophic, man-made, follies.’ Meike Ziervogel‘A haunting and resonant fable.’ Boyd Tonkin, Independent‘A tantalising mixture of magical and grim realism . . . a powerful study of alienation and environmental catastrophe.’ David Mills, Sunday Times‘A poetic masterpiece, a novella of shocking legacies, alien beauty and blistering emotional intensity.’ Pam Norfolk, Lancashire Evening Post‘A writer of immense poetic power.’ Kapka Kassabova, Guardian‘A novella which draws on myth, fairy tale, poetry and traditional story-telling, it stirs them together to create an unusual parable of a modern arms race cruelly impacting on a traditional way of life.’ Elizabeth Buchan, Daily Mail‘This superb novella . . . reads like a modern fairy-tale, full of a surreal yet mundane horror.’ Lesley McDowell, Independent on Sunday‘Central Asian storytelling at its best.’ Marion James, Today's ZamanLONGLISTED FOR THE INDEPENDENT FOREIGN FICTION PRIZE 2015INDEPENDENT BOOKS OF THE YEAR 2014GUARDIAN READERS' BOOKS OF THE YEAR 2014
The Dead Lake, Hamid Ismailov
Peirene Press
Peirene Pressadded a book to the bookshelfPeirene Press10 months ago
A postmodern Victorian novel about faith, knowledge and our inner needs.The late 1870s, the Kentish village of Downe. The villagers gather in church one rainy Sunday. Only Thomas Davies stays away. The eccentric loner, father of two and a grief-stricken widower, works as a gardener for the notorious naturalist, Charles Darwin. He shuns religion. But now Thomas needs answers. What should he believe in? And why should he continue to live?Why Peirene chose to publish this book: ‘This is Peirene’s most poetic book yet. A tale of God, grief and talking chickens. Like Dylan Thomas in Under Milk Wood, Carlson evokes the voices of an entire village, and, through them, the spirit of the age. This is no page-turner, but a story to be inhabited, to be savoured slowly.’ Meike Ziervogel‘The translation is terrific and the author's grasp of England circa 1880 is utterly convincing.’ Sally Vickers, Observer‘It's hard to believe this novel originated in another country. But it did, and the way Carlson shows us to ourselves should make us wonder.’ Nicholas Lezard, Guardian‘Allow layers of meaning to emerge after you finish reading, and you may be rewarded.’ Harriet Paterson, Tablet‘The collective consciousness in this novel is an amazing choir: Carlson makes the souls of Downe Parish sing.’ Helsingin Sanomat‘Carlson writes beautifully, wisely and with effortless humour.’ Suomen KuvalehtiLONGLISTED FOR THE INTERNATIONAL IMPAC DUBLIN LITERARY AWARD 2015OBSERVER BEST HOLIDAY READS 2013
Peirene Press
Peirene Pressadded a book to the bookshelfPeirene Press10 months ago
The modern German classic that has shaped an entire generation.A mother and her two teenage children sit at the dinner table. In the middle stands a large pot of cooked mussels. Why has the father not returned home? As the evening wears on, we glimpse the issues that are tearing this family apart.‘I wrote this book in August 1989, just before the Fall of the Berlin Wall. I wanted to understand how revolutions start. It seemed logical to use the figure of a tyrannical father and turn the story into a German family saga.’ Birgit VanderbekeWhy Peirene chose to publish this book: ‘I love this monologue. It's the first Peirene book which made me laugh out loud with tears in my eyes. The author lays bare the contradictory logic of an inflexible mind. This is a poignant yet hilarious narrative with a brilliant ending.’ Meike Ziervogel‘We are playing catch-up here with something of a contemporary European classic.’ David Mills, Sunday Times‘The novella brilliantly renders both the power of the revolutionary moment and the uncertainty of the future it unleashes.’ Jane Yager, Times Literary Supplement‘This is one of those books that doesn't tell us what to think, but sets us off thinking . .. Who writes this kind of nuanced work in Britain?’ Nicholas Lezard, Guardian‘Sinister, funny and heartening, this taut novella reflects, within the microcosm of the family, the dissolution of the East German state, with an insight, economy and controlled fury that have made it a modern German classic.’ Chris Schuler, Independent‘There is a political edge to Vanderbeke's provocative examination of patriarchal violence, and part of the power of this darkly comic tale is how well it succeeds as an allegory for political tyranny.’ Lucy Popescu, Independent on Sunday‘Astute, darkly funny, provocative, often uncomfortable in its devastating depiction of patriarchal oppression but ultimately uplifting.’ Pam Norfolk, Lancashire Evening Post‘An extraordinary book, the story unspooled with masterful restraint, and written with simplicity and precision.’ Francesca Segal, StandpointSHORTLISTED FOR THE INDEPENDENT FOREIGN FICTION PRIZE 2014WINNER OF THE SCHLEGEL-TIECK PRIZE FOR GERMAN TRANSLATION 2014FOYLES BOOKS OF THE YEAR 2013
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