Those who followed German Literature Month last year know that Wednesdays really are wunderbar because they are giveaway days!

This year Caroline and I are splitting the giveaways into two batches.  The first, this one, is a goody bag designed to complement the first half of the month during which we’ll be reading novellas and literary novels.

Novellas, lots of lovely novellas

I have 4 novellas to start us off.  (Novella defined here as under 130 pages.  Nothing more sophisticated than that.)

The first two are by a favourite author of mine, Stefan Zweig.  Actually, if you measured inch count on my book shelves, he’d be my favourite author and Pushkin Press, who are busy translating and publishing almost everything he ever wrote, must be by such reckoning be my favourite publisher.  They have contributed two recently translated novellas to German Literature Month II.  Both fantastically emotional reads.  Burning Secret reviewed here and Fear reviewed here.

I don’t know much about about the two novellas sent from Haus Publishing – other than they are published by a small publishing house, located in a quiet corner of Cadogan Place in London – a hidden treasure, if you will, that I’d like to share with you.  I can vouch for the impeccable taste of whoever chooses their list.

Finally for those who prefer their literature longer, Caroline, my German Literature Month co-host, is offering a copy of the 272-page long, The Bridge of the Golden Horn.

Can’t make your mind up which you want to read? Here’ are the blurbs from all 5 titles:

Burning Secret – Stefan Zweig (1913)
Set in an Austrian spa where a lonely twelve-year-old is befriended by a charming and enigmatic baron.  As the boy gradually becomes infatuated with him, the older man heartlessly brushes him aside to turn his seductive attention to the boy’s mother.

Fear – Stefan Zweig (1913)
Irene Wagner has been married for eight years and is tired of her bourgeois and predictable existence as wife and mother.  She starts an affair with an up-and-coming young pianist but finds herself being blackmailed by her lover’s former mistress.  Irene is soon in the grip of an astonishing fear.

A Minute’s Silence – Siegfried Lenz (2009)
The delicately paced structure of Lenz’s novella begins with the memorial ceremony for a popular young English mistress, Stella Petersen, seamlessly alternating between this scene and eighteen-year-old Christian’s memory of a summer love affair with his tutor. They keep their mutual attraction concealed at school and as the season goes on the lovers continue to meet discreetly.  Tragedy strikes when Stella goes on holiday with friends, sailing around the Danish islands. As the yacht returns to Hirtshafen at the end of the trip, a storm breaks. Before Christian’s eyes his beloved is flung overboard and fatally wounded. Lenz was twenty or thirty pages into writing A Minute’s Silence when his wife of fifty-six years died. Grief-stricken, he suffered from a serious bout of writer’s block and it seemed he would never finish the novel. With the passage of time, Lenz found that he could write again and complete this tender love story. Despite the obvious distance and difference of Lenz’s own long marriage and the brief, youthful passion of Christian for Stella, Lenz has wrought a well-aimed response to Auden’s famous request: ‘Tell me the truth about love.’

On the Edge – Markus Werner (2004)
When the cynical divorce lawyer Thomas Clarin finds himself at a table on the terrace of the Bellavista Hotel beside Thomas Loos, an eccentric, ageing philologist, hey strike up an unlikely conversation. Soon Clarin’s questions tease out stories from Loos’ past, and as both men slowly reveal more of themselves they are forced to question their opinions on love and life. The men are opposites; they intrigue and repel each other. But as the mystery of Loos’ past deepens, we begin it wonder if all as it seems.

The Bridge of the Golden Horn –  Emine Sevqi Ozdamar (2002)
The Bridge of the Golden Horn is a coming-of-age novel, a sentimental education that is also a political, cultural and intellectual one. In 1966, at the age of 16, the unnamed heroine lies about her age and signs up as a migrant worker in Germany. She leaves Istanbul, works on an assembly line in West Berlin making radios, and lives in a women’s factory hostel. But this novel is not about the problems of assembly line work – it’s a witty, picaresque account of a precocious teenager refusing to become wise, of a hectic four years lived between Berlin and Istanbul, of a young woman who is obsessed by theatre, film, poetry and left-wing politics. These are sometimes grim years, particularly in Turkey, but they also have a hope and optimism that seem almost unimaginable today.

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How to enter
Are you feeling adventurous?  Just leave a comment and let pot luck decide which title will wing its way to you.
Maybe you want to be entered for something specific?  Just let me know in comments and I’ll see what I can do.
And that’s it – oh, besides the committment that if you win, you will read and blog about it during November. (If you haven’t got a blog, just let me know by email what you thought of the book.)

Competition open internationally.  Winners will be chosen in some random manner and notified by email on Monday 1st October.

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