I have a couple of boxes full of books that I once wanted to read next, but the one I actually intend to read next is Heimsuchung, by Jenny Erpenbeck, which has just come out in an English translation, Visitation. It’s the story of a house near Berlin and twelve successive inhabitants through the political vicissitudes of German history. It is said to take a while to get into (see the German description by Isabel Bogdan) – it does start off 24,000 years earlier when the ice finishes shaping the landscape.
I was alerted to the book not by the review by Michel Faber in the Guardian (which seems to suggest we should not be reading Jonathan Franzen), but from Katy Derbyshire’s weblog love german books (whose RSS feed never works, so I have to go to the site every few days). Katy writes in English and mainly about books already translated into English, and she always gives me the feeling of telling it like it is, as in the latest entry on the reading at Soho House in Berlin from the original and Susan Bernofsky’s translation.
The book came out in paperback in February 2010, and German books take ages to come out in paperback, so it’s not surprising I couldn’t find it in the small bookshops in Fürth at the weekend, but I did order it at Genniges for Monday. What I wonder is whether I would have found it at Hugendubel in Nuremberg, or even Thalia.