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We sleep in barns, abandoned factories, in trains, in camps where they have delousing showers and thin soups from field kitchens. Sometimes they bomb us. In the course of this my grandmother and other relatives die. Only my mother, my sister, and I survive. All the glass panes shatter. My mother sits with us children in a sand pit at a playground because she thinks this way nothing is going to happen to her. There the mother and daughter lie on the bed, naked, raped with their throats cut. My grandmother shouts at the drunken Russian until they leave. View image of Gisela, born in Credit: Frederike Helwig.

When we hear on the radio that Silesia must be vacated we join the crowd heading east. Every evening when it gets dark the road must be vacated and everyone has to look for somewhere to sleep.

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We are sitting with her at dinner when the animals jump wildly across the table and chairs. My grandmother finds cats disgusting and is appalled. But the woman forces us out of the apartment and into an old mine. Panic breaks out when the air raid sirens go off. More and more people push into the mine, some fall and are stamped to death.

The cats have warned and saved us. View image of Hannelore, born in Credit: Frederike Helwig. The doctors can only observe that the appendix has burst and the pus has already reached the abdominal cavity. They say the only thing that may help is Penicillin. This is only available on the black market. My youngest aunt somehow manages to secure the medicine, but it is too late.

She is enveloped in a smell of putrefied flesh. When she says she is thirsty I run from one bar to the next in tears to buy her lemonade. Soon after she dies. View image of Horst, born in Credit: Frederike Helwig. The city lies in ruins, an adventure playground. On the way to school I pass the Gereonskirche. One of the two steeples is destroyed, in the other the bells still hang. Near the central station I walk beneath the railway bridge.

Everything is in ruins. My mother tells me that here used to be the hospital in which I was born. Only the exterior walls are still standing; the same is true for our house in Blumenthalstrasse in which we lived prior to the war. I discover the remnants of my pram in the iron skeleton of the balcony. Only in one spot a bomb or grenade must have hit it.

Hohenzollern Bridge is completely destroyed and lies in the Rhine. At the bastion, American soldiers have built an auxiliary bridge, the so-called Patton Bridge.

There Are No Nostalgic Nazi Memorials

Patton was an American general. When cars go over it, especially lorries, the wooden planks rattle and create a lot of noise. I take the tram to school. There is a new O-bus line. It seems a miracle that an omnibus can drive quietly without engine noise. It only rattles a bit when it drives over potholes. Culture Menu. By Fiona Macdonald 23 January Share on Facebook. Share on Twitter. Share on Reddit.

During one dinner, he notices an exceptionally beautiful adolescent boy. He becomes obsessed from a distance, shutting out the ominous news of a danger spreading through the city. In the late s, year-old West German Michael Berg finds himself in a passionate but secret love affair with a woman who is over 20 years his senior, leaving him confused yet enthralled.

As a law student several years later, he is observing a trial when he realizes that the woman in the dock is his former lover.


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But the woman on trial is a very different person to the one he thought he knew. In , it became the first ever German book to top the New York Times bestseller list, and Kate Winslet won an Oscar for her performance in the film adaptation. The book has however come in for staunch criticism, as critics claim it encourages identification with the perpetrators of the Holocaust. Remarque was himself a veteran of the war, and he wrote and published the book a decade after its conclusion. The novel zooms in to the daily life of a private soldier, detailing both the violence of battle and the mundaneness of life on the front.

10 German books you have to read before you die - The Local

Published in , it quickly received international acclaim, being translated into 22 different languages and selling 2. A photo posted by Nia.

Whereas most good novels manage to conjure up images in your head, Das Parfum also conjures up scents and smells that waft up from the page. When it was published in , Das Parfum shot to the top of the best-seller tables. He lived in southeast England for the majority of his life as a university professor, and the breadth and depth of his knowledge shared in the novel could only be that of an academic.


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The novel traces the journey of Jacques Austerlitz, a man who arrived in Britain in as a young boy from Prague. Through a series of lengthy conversations with the narrator, Austerlitz slowly reveals his life story.

Why Hitler Lost the War: German Strategic Mistakes in WWII

Sebald's unusual style has been described as its own genre : dense and slightly old-fashioned, it still captivates the reader and leads them on a fascinating journey through the history of Europe. A photo posted by L. The year - when Berlin Alexanderplatz was published - was the highpoint of the Weimar Republic, before it all came tumbling down with the Wall Street Crash. Berlin was like no other city in the late s: diverse, liberal, and often debauched.

This iconic novel narrates the story of ex-convict Franz Biberkopf who, after being released from prison in Berlin, swears that he will live an upstanding and decent life. He is soon, however, plunged into the capital's louche but exhilarating underworld. In Imperium, a vegetarian nudist from Nuremberg sets sail for a South Pacific island to set up a religion worshipping coconuts and the sun. Sounds like absurdist fiction? In this witty and ironic book, Kracht - one of modern German literature's most elusive figures - tells more than just the surprising yet true story of this extreme figure.

Effi Briest is a young girl from traditional Prussian noblility, who is married off to a considerably older official. Although a devoted servant to the state, her husband is less loving towards his wife, which leads to great problems. This poignant work is seen as one of the great German realist masterpieces, and a beautiful yet tragic story of two people caught up in the shackles of society. Germany's news in English Search. Editions Austria Denmark France. Germany Italy Norway. Spain Sweden Switzerland. News categories Berlin Munich Hamburg More…. Membership My account Gift voucher Corporate Help center.

Jobs in Germany Browse jobs Post a vacancy. Email newsletters Newsletter sign-up Edit my subscriptions. Other pages Apartment rentals Noticeboard Discussion forum Site search. Share this article. Photo: DPA. These ten novels, ranging from the late 19th century to the last couple of years, are modern German classics.