Longlist : The 20 Novels Nominated for the German Book Award 2019

The longlist for the German Book Award 2019 has just been announced. Here are the twenty nominees:

Jackie Thomae, „Brüder“ (Hanser Berlin, August 2019) – Brothers tells the story of two German men, born in the same year to the same father, man they never meet, and who gave them nothing except their dark skin, which separates from everyone else in East Germany at the time. The issues the two men face are the same. But their lives couldn’t be more different. Two men. Two possibilities. Two lives. How we become the people we are.

Andrea Grill, „Cherubino“ (Paul Zsolnay, Juli 2019) – a strong woman, two men, a pregnancy and an opera career. An offer to work at the Metropolitan Opera and the Salzburg Festival – while finding out that she is pregnant with her first child: Andrea Grill has written a powerful novel about a singer torn between her child and her art.

Karen Köhler, „Miroloi“ (Carl Hanser, August 2019) – a village, an island, a whole world: Karen Köhler’s first novel catapults us straight into the thoughts of a young woman who grows up as a foundling in a sheltered community. Here, the men are in charge, women are not allowed to read, and tradition and sacred laws weigh on everyone.  Right sold to Italy pre-pub.

Miku Sophie Kühmel, „Kintsugi“ (S. Fischer, August 2019) – Max and Reik have been a couple of twenty years, and for twenty years they’ve been envied. For their harmony, their special bond, how perfectly they complement one another. They’ve only invited their oldest friend Tonio and his daughter Pega to celebrate this anniversary hidden away at their weekend home. The lake is tranquil, still half under ice, the ground is hard with frost and sometimes a crane flies over the water. But it soon becomes clear that this weekend will be different. That the truth is a vague thing and difficult to grasp.

Angela Lehner, „Vater unser“ (Hanser Berlin, Februar 2019) – here, in the psychiatric ward of an old Viennese hospital, was where the police brought Eva. And now she is telling chief psychiatrist Dr. Korb why it was inevitable.  In her brilliant debut, Angela Lehner has created a highly unreliable first-person narrator – a scheming know-it-all, perhaps even homicidal. More than once, the reader faces the disturbing question: Who is this person and what is she up to?

Katerina Poladjan, „Hier sind Löwen“ (S. Fischer, Juni 2019) – an old Armenian family bible is the only thing sister and brother Anahid and Hrant manage to rescue when they are forced to flee from their hometown on the coast of the Black Sea. One hundred years later, in Yerevan, someone entrusts a bible to Helen, an art restorer. ‘Hrant doesn’t want to wake up,’ reads a note in the margins of one page. Helen immerses herself in the mysteries of the old book and modern Armenian life and falls in love.

Lola Randl, „Der Große Garten“ (Matthes & Seitz Berlin, März 2019) – one day, the film director Lola Randl decided to turn her back on the Berlin city life and to cultivate a garden. She keeps herself busy with seedtime and soil quality, pest and weed, trimming and storage technology. While Randl brings the city to the village and slowly understands that you can‘t run away from yourself, her garden starts to flower.

Norbert Scheuer, „Winterbienen“ (C.H.Beck, Juli 2019) – Germany, January 1944: Egidius Arimond, a laid off Latin and history teacher, is in permanent danger. Not just because of his love affairs or his epilepsy, but first and foremost, because of his daring attempts to rescue Jews by smuggling them across the Belgian border concealed in specially prepared beehives.

Marlene Streeruwitz, „Flammenwand“ (S. Fischer, Mai 2019) – it is March in Stockholm. It’s been a hard winter, it is still 15 below zero, and ice crunches underneath Adele’s feet. As she returns from doing the shopping, she sees from afar how her lover leaves the building. She follows him. The closer she gets to him, the more he becomes invisible. Why do why keep following the same images? What can we actually rely upon? And why does love have to become hell?

Ulrich Woelk, „Der Sommer meiner Mutter“ (C.H.Beck, Januar 2019) – summer of 1969 in Cologne: While Armstrong and Aldrin are preparing to set foot on the moon, a left-wing family moves in, triggering erotic experiences for both Tobias and his mother. Ulrich Woelk tells the thrilling, atmospheric and heart-breaking story of (new) personal and political beginnings that end tragically.

Alexander Osang, „Die Leben der Elena Silber“ (S. Fischer, August 2019) – a panorama of the 20th Century: five generations in Germany and Russia. Victor, a revolutionary, is executed in a small town east of Moscow. At that moment the times sweep up Victor’s daughter Lena.  In the confusion of the postwar days, Lena’s husband disappears, and Lena has to raise her four daughters by herself. They are to continue on the path Lena has begun to follow out of her constricted life and away from misfortune and misery. But is the story, the way Lena tells it to her family, really true?  

Tonio Schachinger, „Nicht wie ihr“ (Kremayr & Scheriau, September 2019)
Nora Bossong, „Schutzzone“ (Suhrkamp, September 2019)
Jan Peter Bremer, „Der junge Doktorand“ (Berlin Verlag, September 2019)
Raphaela Edelbauer, „Das flüssige Land“ (Klett-Cotta, August 2019) Emanuel Maeß, „Gelenke des Lichts“ (Wallstein, Februar 2019)
Eva Schmidt, „Die untalentierte Lügnerin“ (Jung und Jung, März 2019)
Saša Stanišić, „Herkunft“ (Luchterhand, März 2019)
Norbert Zähringer, „Wo wir waren“ (Rowohlt, März 2019)
Tom Zürcher, „Mobbing Dick“ (Salis, März 2019)