Why read the Heinrich Böll story “Doktor Murkes gesammeltes Schweigen” all by itself when you could enjoy Sharon Dodua Otoo’s Gesammeltes Schweigen instead?  (Love German Books, 11/23/23)

The authors in February 1933: The Winter of Literature (by Uwe Wittstock, translated by Daniel Bowles) “are all too human, blameless in their initial assumption that violence, lies, and hate cannot sustain a regime, and helpless when it turns out they can.” (The New York Review, 11/2/23)

Clemens Meyer’s “stark yet tender rendering” of post-reunification eastern Germany has earned him literary laurels. His 2006 debut novel, Als wir träumten, was translated this year by Katy Derbyshire, as While We Were Dreaming. (New Statesman, 11/16/23)

“Clinging to the undercarriage of her sentences, like fugitives, are intimations of Germany’s politics, history and cultural memory.” Jenny Erpenbeck’s latest novel, Kairos, has been translated into English by Michael Hofmann.  (The New York Times, 5/29/23; The New Republic, 6/21/23; World Literature Today, 11/2023)

Critical praise for Endless Flight: The Life of Joseph Roth: “Keiron Pim’s elegant, detailed and judicious biography is the first comprehensive English-language introduction to an author whose astonishing literary talent consistently overrode the careless failures, debacles and staggering afflictions of his life.” (Times Literary Supplement, 10/7/22; Los Angeles Review of Books, 12/24/22)

“As you translate a book, you don’t just get a feel for it, the book inhabits you.” Tim Mohr explains the unexpected joys of translating and being translated—with possibly the best origin story for a literary translator ever.  (Lithub, 5/15/23)

“A cult voice of East German feminist literature” is finally getting her due in English. Lucy Jones’s translation of Brigitte Reimann’s novel Die Geschwister (Siblings) will be published by Penguin in February, fifty years after the author’s premature death.  (The Guardian, 1/4/23; The New Yorker, 3/27/23)

Sibylle Berg’s Grime, newly translated by Tim Mohr, “is a novel so caustic it should be printed with hydrochloric acid.” Berg “sprays her fury across the whole landscape of technological and economic manias that are rendering the 21st century intolerable.”  (The Washington Post, 12/13/22)

The rules of gender in German-speaking Europe are bending, and Kim de l’Horizon is leading the way. They received the 2022 German Book Prize for Blutbuch, “a formally adventurous work centering on a nonbinary character, also named ‘Kim,’ grappling with gender identity while exploring the traumatic histories of women in their Swiss family.”  (The New York Times, 11/30/22)

Gudrun Pausewang’s 1987 novel Die Wolke (The Cloud), about a fictional nuclear accident, was standard reading for young West Germans. “To this day, critics argue over whether she empowered children—or traumatised them for life.”  (BBC, 11/3/22)

Onkel Toms Hütte is one of Berlin’s most distinctive U-Bahn stations, with a name that references Harriet Beecher Stowe’s novel, a long-gone Biergarten, and a modernist housing development designed by Bruno Taut. Once a flashpoint in the great “roof war” of 1928, it’s now the center of a 21st-century controversy about the anti-Black slur that “Uncle Tom” has become. NPR, (7/30/08; Atlas Obscura, 1/19/17; The Washington Post, 11/27/22)

In memoriam: Hans Magnus Enzensberger (1929–2022), “free-spirited intellectual who suggested a new literary direction for the country out of the rubble of World War II, writing poems, essays, novels and travelogues that were by turns witty and incisive, united by their vivid imagery and close attention to detail.”  (Deutsche Welle, 11/25/22; The Washington Post, 11/28/22; n+1, 11/29/22)

Lion Feuchtwanger’s novel The Oppermanns “reads like a five-alarm fire because it was written that way, over a mere nine months, and published shortly after Hitler became chancellor, only lightly fictionalizing events as they occurred in real time.”  It has just been rereleased with a revised translation by Joshua Cohen.  (The New York Times, 10/3/22; The New York Times, 10/6/22; The Atlantic, 12/19/22)

In the new novel Identitti author Mithu Sanyal and translator Alta Price “take readers on a wild ride in which every assumption about race, interpersonal relationships, and academic language is brought under scrutiny.” (Words without Borders, 9/1/22; The New York Times, 9/29/22; Los Angeles Review of Books, 10/24/22)

The Ravensburger Verlag withdrew two children’s books based on the work of Karl May, who created an utterly fanciful—but wildly successful—world of cowboys and Indians at the end of the 19th century; his 21st-century defenders aren’t conceding quietly. (The Guardian, 8/23/22; The Times, 9/12/22)

Karl Bartos recalls his innovative musical career in The Sound of the Machine: My Life in Kraftwerk and Beyond, translated into English by Katy Derbyshire.  (The Guardian, 8/3/22; Clash, 8/8/22)

“A cage went in search of a bird”: There’s much to contemplate and appreciate in a beautiful new edition of Kafka’s aphorisms, translated by Shelley Frisch and introduced and edited by Reiner Stach.  (Times Literary Supplement, 4/29/22; Forward, 7/7/22)

An Inventory of Losses by Judith Schalansky, translated by Jackie Smith, is “a fine example of everyone’s favourite genre: the genre-defying book, inspired by history, filtered through imagination and finished with a jeweller’s eye for detail.”  (The Guardian, 12/4/20;  The White Review, 1/2021)

With the reissue of Reflections of a Nonpolitical Man and Colm Tóibín’s biographical novel, Thomas Mann is having a moment. Before you pick up either one, read Alex Ross first!  (The New Yorker, 1/17/22)