When I say mega, I mean it.  Vintage Classics (@vintagebooks) has generously sent us four giants of classic German Literature bookended by two contemporary giantesses   ….

Classics from Vintage

From left to right with blurbs from Amazon:

West – Julia Franck

Scientist Nelly Senff is desperate to escape her life in East Berlin. The father of her two children has supposedly committed suicide, and she wants to leave behind the prying eyes of the Stasi.

But the West is not all she hoped for. Nelly and her children are held in Marienfelde, a processing centre and no-man’s-land between East and West. There she meets Krystyna, a Polish woman who hopes that medical treatment in the West will save her dying brother; Hans, a troubled actor released from prison in the East; and John, a CIA man monitoring the refugees for possible Stasi spies. All lives cross here, and the cramped confines of the camp breed defamation and violence.

West is a devastating portrait of a mother in turmoil, trying to do the best for her children, as she attempts to escape her past and start a new life.

The Tin Drum – Gunter Grass

Grass’s landmark novel in a stunning translation by Breon Mitchell.  (I can vouch for the translation – stunning is an accurate description. Editor)

On his third birthday Oskar decides to stop growing. Haunted by the deaths of his parents and wielding his tin drum Oskar recounts the events of his extraordinary life; from the long nightmare of the Nazi era to his anarchic adventures is post-war Germany.

The Glass Bead Game – Hermann Hesse

Hesse’s magnum opus: In the remote Kingdom of Castalia, the scholars of the Twenty Third century play the Glass Bead Game. The elaborately coded game is a fusion of all human knowledge – of maths, music, philosophy, science, and art. Intrigued as a school boy, Joseph Knecht becomes consumed with mastering the game as an adult. As Knecht fulfils his life-long quest he must contend with unexpected dilemmas and the longing for a life beyond the ivory tower.

The Magic Mountain – Thomas Mann

This European masterpiece from the Nobel prizewinner explores the lure and degeneracy of ideas in an introverted community on the eve of World War I.

Hans Castorp is ‘a perfectly ordinary, if engaging young man’ when he goes to visit his cousin in an exclusive sanatorium in the Swiss Alps.What should have been a three week trip turns into a seven year stay. Hans falls in love and becomes intoxicated with the ideas he hears at the clinic – ideas which will strain and crack apart in a world on the verge of the First World War.

The Emigrants – W G Sebald

An innovative twentieth-century classic from a major European writer.

At first The Emigrants appears simply to document the lives of four Jewish émigrés in the twentieth century. But gradually, as Sebald’s precise, almost dreamlike prose begins to draw their stories, the four narrations merge into one overwhelming evocation of exile and loss.

Written with a bone-dry sense of humour and a fascination with the oddness of existence The Emigrants is highly original in its heady mix of fact, memory and fiction and photographs.

The Method – Juli Zeh

Mia Holl lives in a state governed by The Method, where good health is the highest duty of the citizen. Everyone must submit medical data and sleep records to the authorities on a monthly basis, and regular exercise is mandatory.

Mia is young and beautiful, a successful scientist who is outwardly obedient but with an intellect that marks her as subversive. Convinced that her brother has been wrongfully convicted of a terrible crime, Mia comes up against the full force of a regime determined to control every aspect of its citizens’ lives.

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i have one copy of each book to giveaway.  To enter, leave a comment indicating two titles you’d like to read.  Depending on levels of interest you may receive one or both titles of your choice.  Competition open internationally.  Winners will be chosen on Sunday 18/10/2015.

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