As promised here is the second giveaway of German Literature Month. While the first one was focussing on novellas and literary books, this one combines literary books and genre. Alissa Walser’s novel is clearly historical, it still is a literary novel, the same goes for Léon and Louise and Love Virtually, both are love stories but not pure genre. Things are different when it comes to Andrea Maria Schenkel. Hers is a crime novel, no doubt. One of the most interesting new German genre writers is Zoran Drvenkar who writes a lot of different genres. Thriller, YA, children’s books and many more. The book I’ve chosen is a genre blend which is extremely successful in Germany among adults and young adults alike.
I’d like to thank Haus Publishing for offering Léon and Louise and MacLehose Press for Alissa Walser’s novel Mesmerized. Lizzy is offering Love Virtually and Grimm’s Fairy Tales and I’m contributing The Murder Farm and Tell Me What You See.
I hope the blurbs will help you decide which of the books you would like to win.
Alex Capus – Léon and Louise
Summer 1918. The First World War is drawing to a close when Léon Le Gall, a French teenager from Cherbourg who has dropped out of school and left home, first meets and falls in love with Louise Janvier. Severely wounded by a German artillery attack they are separated, both mistakenly believing each other to be dead. Ten years later, while travelling on the Paris Métro, Léon – now married – briefly catches sight of a girl who bears a strong resemblance to Louise, the first love he has never forgotten. He goes in search of her at the insistence of his wife Yvonne. The couple are briefly reunited, but part again with a heavy heart as Louise refuses to destroy Léon’s marriage. And then another war tears them apart. Paris is occupied by the Germans, for whom Léon indirectly works at the headquarters of the Paris CID. Louise, an employee of the Banque de France, is shipped off to French West Africa with the bank’s gold reserves. Narrated by Léon’s grandson, Léon and Louise is the story of an enduring passion that survives the vicissitudes of world history and the passage of time, spanning more than forty years. But it is far more than this. The long-separated lovers are flesh and blood characters vividly captured in complex human relationships and real-life situations: in German-occupied Paris, where Léon wages a lone battle against the abhorrent tasks imposed on him by the SS and his wife fights stubbornly for her family’s survival; and in the wilds of Africa, where Louise confronts the hardships of her primitive environment with courage and humour.
Daniel Glattauer – Love Virtually
It begins by chance: Leo receives emails in error from an unknown woman called Emmi. Being polite he replies, and Emmi writes back. A few brief exchanges are all it takes to spark a mutual interest in each other, and soon Emmi and Leo are sharing their innermost secrets and longings. The erotic tension simmers, and it seems only a matter of time before they will meet in person. But they keep putting off the moment – the prospect both unsettles and excites them. And, after all, Emmi is happily married. Will their feelings for each other survive the test of a real-life encounter?
Alissa Walser – Mesmerized
Mozart’s Vienna. A crucible for scientific experimentation and courtly intrigue, as Europe’s finest minds vie for imperial favour. In a colourful, chaotic private hospital that echoes with the shrieks of hysterical patients, Franz Anton Mesmer is developing a series of controversial cure-alls for body and mind. When he is asked to help restore the sight of a blind musical prodigy favoured by the Empress herself, he senses that fame, and even immortality, is within his grasp. Mesmer knows that he will have to gain her trust if he is to open her eyes. But at what cost to her fragile talent? And will their intimacy result in scandal?
Andrea Maria Schenkel – The Murder Farm
A whole family has been murdered with a pickaxe. They were old Danner the farmer, an overbearing patriarch, his put-upon devoutly religious wife, and their daughter Barbara Spangler, whose husband Vincenz left her after fathering her daughter, Marianne. Also murdered was the Danners’ new maidservant, Marie, who was regarded as slightly simple. Despite the brutal nature of the killings and the small village where it has taken place, the police have no leads. Officially the crime is unsolved. And then a former resident returns home… The Murder Farm is an unconventional detective story. The author interweaves testament from the villagers, an oblique view of the murderer, occasional third-person narrative pieces and passages of pious devotion. The narrator leaves the village unaware of the truth, only the reader is able to reach the shattering conclusion.
The Brothers Grimm – Fairy Tales
Is a collection of well-loved fairytales by the brothers Grimm. Stories include Hansel and Gretel, Tom Thumb, Little Red Riding Hood, Sleeping Beauty, Rumpelstiltskin, Snow White, the Frog Prince, Rapunzel, The Elves and The Show Maker and many more.
Zoran Drvenkar – Tell Me What You See
Berlin. The dead of night. Sixteen-year-old Alissa and her best friend Evelin make their secret Christmas pilgrimage to Alissa’s father’s grave. In the graveyard, Alissa falls through thick snow into an underground crypt. Searching for a way out, she discovers something else: out of the lid of a small coffin coils a strange black plant. Drawn closer, Alissa sees its roots embedded in a young child’s heart. This chance encounter sets off a chain of nightmarish events that throw her life into turmoil. Haunted by angels, stalked by her ex-boyfriend, only with Evelin’s help can Alissa reclaim her sanity and discover the truth about her frightening new gift.
The competition is open internationally. The winners will be announced on Wednesday October 10 2012.