Get used to this Wednesdays are wunderbar post milarkey. Over the next couple of months the hosts of German literature month will have lots of  literary goodness to giveaway thanks to an abundance of  willing sponsors.   We’re starting the giveaways now to give you the chance to win something and have it delivered in time for the start of November.

Effi Briest Giveaway Copies

One of the highlights of the reading schedule for me will be the group read of Theodor Fontane’s Effi Briest.  How so?

1)  Caroline and I both think it is criminal Effi Briest is not as well known as Madame Bovary and Anna Karenina (outside the German speaking world, that is).  Which is not to say that Effi is cut from the same cloth.  She is quite different.

2) Within the German speaking world, Effi’s place at the peak of the literary canon is assured.  In 1919 Thomas Mann said that Fontane’s novel belonged among the six most significant novels ever written.

3) Fontane is considered to be Germany’s greatest novelist between Goethe and Thomas Mann and Effi Briest is his masterpiece.

4) I don’t want to give anything away here but don’t let 2) and 3) intimidate you.  Effi Briest is a 19th century, realist novel  and very, very readable – particularly so in 3 x 100 page sections we have planned.

I do hope you’ll join us.  Each week we will email you questions for you to think about.  On discussion days bloggers post their thoughts on their own blog;  non-bloggers can post in comments on the leading blogpost.  Ideally you’ll follow the structure of the distributed questions but if you want to go free-form, we won’t object.  We just want as many people as possible to read and enjoy this marvellous novel.

The text can be readily downloaded in the original German or translated into English by William A Cooper.

If, like me, you’ve not yet been converted to e-reading, I have, courtesy of Penguin Classics, 3 giveaway copies of the 1995 translation by Hugh Rorrison and Helen Chambers. Just leave a comment about why you’d like to read this book to enter.

The competition is open worldwide  The only condition of entry is that,  should you win, you commit to joining in the readalong.  Winners will be chosen and announced on Sunday 9.10.2011 and I will post the books airmail next week to ensure they arrive in plenty of time.