What are the latest novels

The most interesting literary new publications in 2021

Status: May 19, 2021 3:49 p.m.

Many great books have already appeared on the German-speaking book market in 2021. These novels, volumes of poetry and non-fiction books have captivated us - our book recommendations with no guarantee of favor.

The reactions to Peter Buwalda's debut novel "Bonita Avenue" in 2014 were mixed. His new, around 600-page novel "Otmar's Sons" is an incredibly powerful text - from the first sentence to the open ending. The story is about a kind of blended family in which step-siblings and married couples are at war with each other. "So much happens in this novel that a synopsis can only touch what is happening. It is a breathlessly raging story. Inescapable, unbelievable, disastrous and brutal like life," says NDR Kultur literary critic Annemarie Stoltenberg.

Klaus Modick's "Fahrtwind": A novel with a prominent original

Klaus Modick's new novel "Fahrtwind" has a popular predecessor: "From the life of a good-for-nothing" by Joseph von Eichendorff. "Fahrtwind" is about an artist personality: a young man who might want to become a musician one day. Modick's first-person narrator has no first name. If his parents want, he should join his father's heating construction company, "Johann Müller GmbH & Co KG". But life seems too auspicious to him to be spent with plain work. So, just like Eichendorff’s good-for-nothing, he goes into the romantic blue. At Modick, it's off on a romantic road trip, during which the hero lets the wind blow through his long hair. At NDR Kultur you can also listen to Modick's new book for free. The book has been presented in nine episodes since May 17th in the series "Am Morgen read aloud". The episodes are also available online for seven days.

"At home": Judith Hermann's novel about fear and longing

Judith Hermann's new novel "Daheim" tells the story of a woman who leaves her previous life behind and moves to the sea. There she works in her brother's diner and suddenly finds herself exposed to unknown fears. Suddenly the front door is open during the night. An animal lives between the walls, obtrusively loud and invisible. But she also befriends her neighbor Mimi, who swims naked in the harbor basin every morning. In "Daheim", Judith Hermann manages to translate the magical, parable of her stories into a novel. Hermann is telling the fairy tale with great certainty about a woman who has lost part of herself in a magician's box and may not get it back until 30 years later. Judith Hermann's new novel "Daheim" is also the subject of the new NDR culture literature podcast "Land in Sicht". In the third episode, writer Lisa Kreißler and Alexander Solloch talk about longing.

"About People": Juli Zeh publishes new novel

Juli Zeh refers to the Corona period in her new book "About People". At first glance, "Über Menschen" has a similar setting to her hit novel "Unter Menschen". The young protagonist Dora moves from Berlin, where she can no longer stand her friend who has mutated into a corona apocalyptic, to the countryside. Confronted with the reality in the country, their worldview changes.

"Monschau": Smallpox epidemic in the Eifel

In contrast, "Monschau", the new novel by Steffen Kopetzky, deals with the past. Kopetzky looks back on 1962 and tells the story of a young doctor who was sent to the Eifel to fight a smallpox epidemic. Once again, Steffen Kopetzky mixes true events and fiction in an exciting, hands-on way.

Modern poetry by Amanda Gorman and Anja Kampmann

Since the impressive appearance of 22-year-old poet Amanda Gorman at the inauguration of Joe Biden, the whole world has been talking about her and her poem. "The Hill We Climb" has just appeared in German translation: "Up the hill". Around the publication, a big dispute arose over who was allowed to translate the black author's verses into other languages. A three-person team took over this for Hoffmann und Campe-Verlag. The translation of the powerful poem did not convince everyone, and yet it is one of the most noticed new publications on the German literary market this spring.

After her highly acclaimed debut novel "How high the water rise", Anja Kampmann from Hamburg has again presented a volume of poetry this year. "The dog is always hungry" was published by Hanser Verlag in March. The poems are stylistically very reduced, rich in historical references and with a rough and at the same time wistful sound they carry you away to a past in the north German province. The second episode of the NDR Kultur literature podcast "Land in Sicht" is about Kampmann's poems.

Peter Longerich on "Anti-Semitism - from the Enlightenment to the present day"

The attack on the synagogue in Halle in autumn 2019 showed in a dramatic way that anti-Semitism is still virulent in Germany. In his history of anti-Semitism, the renowned Munich historian Peter Longerich describes the various forms of hostility towards Jews in Germany over a period of two and a half centuries, from the Enlightenment to the present day. For him, in "Anti-Semitism - from the Enlightenment to today" the question arises: Why are Jews repeatedly victims of discrimination and violence? Why have they not been and are not accepted as equals?

"The Snow Leopard": Adventure trip in Tibet

The French writer Sylvain Tesson tells a very special story in "The Snow Leopard": Together with the photographer Vincent Munier, the wildlife filmmaker Marie and a colleague named Leo, he travels to Tibet to find one of the rarest animals on earth. Tesson describes the coexistence of this small group and the long time of waiting in loneliness and cold at an altitude of 4,000 to 5,000 meters. Tesson is inspired by the impressive mountain world and the primeval animals that they encounter, to numerous philosophical thoughts on the question of the meaning of human existence and the interplay between humans and nature. Sylvain Tesson's "The Snow Leopard" is also discussed in the book podcast eat.READ.sleep.

"Eurotrash": Christian Kracht's late "Fiberland" continuation

25 years after his acclaimed debut novel, the writer Christian Kracht has written a sequel. At that time, an anonymous first-person narrator wandered through a Germany deserted by all ghosts, from Sylt to over the Swiss border to Zurich. In "Eurotrash" the same narrator goes on a journey again - this time not only into the inner self, but into the abyss of his own family. Their history intersects again and again with the history of this country in a tragic, comical and sometimes spectacular way. What at first looks like an auto-fiction turns out to be a complex and extremely amusing poetic puzzle over the course of the story. Anyone who starts googling the key biographical data of Kracht will soon no longer know what distinguishes truth and lies. With his new work, Christian Kracht has been nominated for the Leipzig Book Fair Prize.

"From getting up": Almost a century of German history

The now 80-year-old Ingeborg Bachmann Prize winner Helga Schubert is also nominated for the Leipzig Book Prize. In her autobiographical work "Vom Auferstand" she tells of her life "as a war child, refugee child and child of the German division". Little is thought out in this book. The 29 stories tell mostly from a first-person perspective and leaf through the life of Helga Schubert, but also eight decades of German history.

"Panther time": Marica Bodrožić reflects on life in the Corona time

Marica Bodrožić's poetic-philosophical considerations in "Panther Time" about life in Corona times show that good literature is not only entertaining, but also leads us to new ideas about our current life. Bodrožić makes Rainer Maria Rilke's poem "The Panther" the focal point of her extensive essay. It is the poem about the pandemic: Having to look through the bars from the inside to the outside like a caged panther makes the world appear different, clearer. The book was presented at the beginning of the year in the NDR culture series "Am Morgen vorgelesen" even before it was published. It was published in February. In the course of the year, Marica Bodrožić will also be a guest in the series of events "The North Reads".

Reemtsma's son Johann Scheerer describes his childhood

2021 will mark the 25th anniversary of the kidnapping of the Hamburg millionaire Jan Philipp Reemtsma. Two years ago, Reemtsma's son, the musician Johann Scheerer, processed his experiences about the kidnapping in "We are then probably the relatives". His new book "Unheimlich nah" describes how he grew up in the constant company of bodyguards after his father returned.

Exciting new releases in May 2021

The French-Moroccan writer Leïla Slimani published another novel last year: "The Land of Others" was a huge success in France. The story tells the love story of a young Alsatian who follows her husband to his homeland of Morocco, where she reaches the limits of tolerance and tradition. The book will be published in German by Luchterhand on May 24th.

Where does the art come from that can be seen in our museums? Nazi-looted art or art, objects from colonial contexts. Politicians and museums strive for clear strategies that by no means go far enough for all. Bénédicte Savoy is one of the loud voices in this debate and demands resolutely: "Give it back!" Together with Merten Lagatz and Philippa Sissis, the art historian Bénédicte Savoy publishes the picture atlas "Beute", which tells of the changing life of objects between acquisition, theft and restitution. An image atlas that makes you aware that collecting was rarely innocent, as the example of the Benin bronzes, which are to be returned to Nigeria from next year, shows. "Beute" will be published by S. Fischer Verlag on May 21st.

75th anniversary of Gerhart Hauptmann's death

The literary commemorative calendar is also full of important commemorative occasions. Heinrich Mann's 150th birthday would have been on March 27th and the Austrian poet Erich Fried would have celebrated his 100th birthday on May 6th. Further memorial days will follow: On May 20, the 100th birthday of Wolfgang Borchert, on June 6, the 75th anniversary of Gerhart Hauptmann's death, on July 10, the 150th birthday of Marcel Proust, and on December 12, the 200th birthday of Gustave Flaubert.

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NDR culture | Classic in the day | 05/03/2021 | 12:40 p.m.