Foreign books Germans are reading

In Germany, reading is considered a national sport. Jump on Berlin’s subway, the U-Bahn and you are more likely to see a head buried in a rip-roaring novel rather than a smart phone. But in a country where its high brow literary stars stand shoulder to shoulder with its sport stars as national heroes, it’s also a tough and discerning audience – especially in regards to foreign works translated into the notoriously finicky German tongue.

So what contemporary foreign titles are making their way to German bedside tables? Freshly translated into German, “The Harder they Come” by celebrated US author T. C. Boyle (pictured above) is a certified current fave. It’s all about a rebellious soul who has no tolerance for mainstream America – an “outsider” theme beloved by German audiences (“Steppenwolf” anyone?).

In the book, the young Adam has retreated into the woods, physically rebelling against bourgeois conformists. Although Boyle’s latest work is perhaps not as strikingly worded as his “Water Music” and “World’s End” of 30 years before, it is indeed commendable.

Stefano D’Arrigo’s masterwork “Horcynus Orca,” published in 1975, has often been hailed a literary treasure. And finally equal praise is now being showered upon its translation into German. The cumbersome novel had long been considered absolutely untranslatable. But where there is a means…there is a willing German translator.

Read more: Deutsche Welle

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