I doubt I’ll be travelling to Germany this year. (Constantly changing test and quarantine requirements are turning the mere thought of travel into hard work.) UK publishers are, however, riding to the rescue with a bonanza of German literature. I may have mentioned this in my Q2 Great Anticipations post, but since then I’ve discovered even more! New translations of classic titles, rediscovered classics, contemporary literary fiction, award winners, crime novels, psychological thrillers, non-fiction. So much choice. Plus there are a number of English language originals centred on my favourite place on earth.
What is a girl to do? Indulge herself, that’s what!
So I’m planning to read and review at least 10 G-lit 2021 releases throughout what remains of spring and the summer of 2021.
This extraordinary season of Germanic bounty begins today with the second book from the second batch of releases from V&Q Books, The Blacksmith’s Daughter by Selim Özdoğan, which, ironically, does not take place in Germany at all, but in Turkey. It is the story of a family living in rural Anatolia in the mid-C20th. Life is not easy, but neither is it hard. Summers are hot, winters are cold, and family dramas are many. Yet this is a time of change. Younger generations are not happy to settle for the modest expectations of their elders and so begins the migration to Germany in search of material prosperity. Gül, the blacksmith’s daughter, does just that with her husband to become one of the legions of Turkish Gastarbeiter (guest workers). Özdogan’s novel, co-translated by Katy Derbyshire and Ayça Türkoğlu is full of charm and affection for the characters, regardless of their flaws. Summarised in one word, it is gorgeous. I’ve read it twice already, and I’m looking forward to reading it again.
My full review is now available on the European Literature Network, where a handful of this season’s G-lit releases make an appearance in April’s rivetting reviews. You could say this is a sneak preview of (some of) the things to come here on Lizzy’s Literary Life!