Die Herrlichkeit des Lebens by Michael Kampfmüller

One of the pile of new books I got for Christmas was Michael Kampfmüller’s Die Herrlichkeit des Lebens, inspired by a glowing review in New Books in German a few years back. It sums the book up much better than I ever could, so I’ll link to it here.

I really appreciated the beautiful writing of this book. Although it is under 250 pages, it is a slow, meditative read. It gives a human perspective on politics and economics of Weimar Germany. The 1920s was a really bad time to move to Berlin in many ways! When, for example, Franz’s parents send him a cheque in Reichsmarks, he is furious because it has lost a third of its value by the time it arrives. It is also intriguing to see Kafka as a real person rather than through the prism of his writing. Even in the story it is how he is defined by himself and others – a writer, who earns a living in insurance, yet who isn’t writing. Not at first anyway. Here,  though, he is a man – ill, in love, dying – while Dora Diamant is a young woman whose touching relationship with Franz comes at the beginning of her adult life, rather than its end.

I found this book interesting from a literary point of view, and touching as a general reader. I’m glad to see that it’s due out in English in March from Haus, translated by Anthea Bell.

About forwardtranslations

I'm a freelance literary translator from German and French to English. The title of my blog comes from Mary Schmich's description of reading: it struck home with me, and seems especially apt for translated fiction. Here are some of my musings on what I'm reading, re-reading, reading to my children, and translating.
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1 Response to Die Herrlichkeit des Lebens by Michael Kampfmüller

  1. This sounds wonderful Rachel, and I love the idea that Kafka is featured in it. I’m going to look out for the English translation. Lindsay

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