The German book prize in 2018 goes to Inger-Maria Mahlke


The author Inger-Maria Mahlke wins this year’s German book. He is the most important industry. In her novel the story of a family on the island of Tenerife, in their speech of thanks to yogurt.

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Inger-Maria Mahlke: “Archipelago”







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Inger-Maria Mahlke: “Archipelago”

With this highly endowed prize of the Börsenverein of the German book trade picks every year at the start of the Frankfurt book fair, the best German-language novel of the year. The winner is Inger-Maria Mahlke look forward to not only the award but also a prize money of 25,000 euros.

The Presenter praised the work of the Inger-Maria Mahlke for the most accurate and consistent narrative, and the “dazzling Details” which are incorporated into the narrative flow of the novel.

Mahlke recalled in her short speech of thanks to the importance of literature: “I would like to thank all of you who know that there is a difference between books and yogurt”. Because literature allows to make readers an existential experience.

Here is a glimpse of the award-winning novel “archipelago” by Inger-Maria Mahlke:

“It is the 9. July 2015, four of the ten o’clock and two, three petty minutes, in La Laguna, the ancient capital of the archipelago, is the air temperature of 29.1 degree, to seventeen PM, you will reach twenty-seven with 31.3 degrees your daily maximum. The sky is clear, cloudless, and so bright blue that it could also be white.”

The excellent novel: “archipelago”

The novel begins in the year 2015 and tells about several generations further and further back, in a slow – a family history on the Canary island of Tenerife. There, in Lübeck, Germany, in 1977 in Hamburg-born author and criminologist Inger-Maria Mahlke grew up. In her novel she takes a century journey, with many loving Details and a beginning that is reminiscent of Musil’s “man without qualities”.

Mahlkes tone remains laconic distant. Spanish and Canarian terms prevail appealing to the language of the novel, in which she tells of the on the island, who have returned to Pink, and her grandfather Julio. It is reported by the upheavals and turmoil of his century, the civil war, in which he was a courier of the partisan and prisoner of the fascists.

Now, as an old man, guards the gate of a retirement home. There’s a simple woman without a name, the name all just “the cat”. And since the once-influential Bernadottes and the contrast between the big bourgeois-colonial life and the lives of the little people. The Building and Wieses, Moore’s and González’ – a people directory at the end of the book helps to keep track of them.

Inger-Maria Mahlke’s not told chronologically. She frequently shifts perspective, jumping from the private tragedies of her Felipe’s and Ana’s in the history and creates a aesthetically delightful, from the circumference narrated novel of the history of Europe in the 20th century. Century.

Inger-Maria Mahlke: Archipelago, Rowohlt Verlag, 432 Pages


The Jury

The Jury of the German book prize in 2018: Christine Lötscher, Paul Jandl, Marianne Sax, Christoph Bartmann, Tanja Graf, Uwe Kalkowski, Luzia Braun (v. l. n. r.)

In addition to the Zurich literary critic Christine Lötscher six other cultural observers and Literature experts in the Jury to 2018: Christoph Bartmann, Director of Goethe-Institut Warsaw, the cultural journalist and TV presenter (“aspects”/ZDF) Luzia Braun, Tanja Graf, former publisher and head of the house of literature in Munich, the publisher of the literature blog “coffee house-seater” Uwe Kalkowski, the literary critic Paul Jandl and Swiss book dealer Marianne Sax.

The Deutsche Welle is a media partner of the German book prize.

The Finalists

199 title has rolled up the Jury for the most important German prize for literature, read, reviewed. 20 of the works have finally made it to the Longlist. For the first Time in the history of the German book prize, which is awarded since 2005, more works by authors than by the authors on the Long – and is also on the Shortlist.

Among the six finalists, of which five of the losers at least get to enjoy a prize money of 2500 Euro, this year the following novels:

Maxim Biller: “Six Case”

You should know that before you take Maxim Biller’s relatively short novel, “Six case” in the Hand: Biller was as a child of Russian Jewish parents, born in 1960 in Prague. After the suppression of the Prague spring in 1970 and emigrated with his mother Rada with him, the father and the sister, the later a journalist and writer Elena Lappin, to West Germany.

Maxim Biller

Biller’s novel tells of the escape of a family and of what – in this case, even repeated – a new beginning in the Alien and abandoned, unresolved story with your members. The family history of Biller has truths, a Central mystery, told in 6 chapters and in 6: Who betrayed the grandfather in 1960, the Soviet secret service?

“Who do you think is really to blame for the death of your grandfather,” asks the NDR-editor with the “thin curious and, as Jelena was, unfortunately, also quite German mouth” at the end of the book.

A young man of Jewish-Russian descent, tried to the from the West, in Zurich to find out in six chapters with six different perspectives. In bright light, with ridiculous punchlines, the book as a detective novel to read. But it also poses a great moral question: How can you escape the long shadow of totalitarianism?

Maxim Biller: “Six Case”, Kiepenheuer & Witsch 2018, 201 Pages


Two authors are not the final nominees, whose native language is not English: Nino Haratischwili from Georgia and María Cecilia Barbetta from Argentina.

María Cecilia Barbetta: “Light Up Night”

“The facts that are created in this country, in addition to pushing the limits of our imagination, always a little further, so that we must permanently think of something’, commented can the editor of the ballester local scoreboard verse.”

María Cecilia Barbetta

Historical facts and events, it is also in María Cecilia Barbettas novel about Argentina at the beginning of the military dictatorship, in 1974-75. The book is about the life of the little people, the discuss in car repair shops and hair salons to the political upheaval. Far-reaching, with an extensive staff, the 1972 born in Buenos Aires, the author describes the atmosphere in the immigrants dominated the district Ballester. A fluorescent Madonna, vanishing cats, a beautiful nun and a young Detective to play a crucial role. Puzzles are not resolved, some of the narrative strands are only connected lightly.

Barbetta has visited in Buenos Aires, the German school, and later studied German. For 22 years she lives and works in Berlin. “I love to write in English,” she explained in Interviews. Their story lives by its own memories of the neighborhood in which you grew up. From the distance she creates in her story to more than 500 pages, full of wit, a shimmering Panorama of this actually, but such a heavy time of the Argentinean military dictatorship.

María Cecilia Barbetta: “Night Lights”, S. Fischer Verlag, 2018, 528 Pages


Nino Haratischwili: “the cat and The General”

Also, the Director and author Nino Haratischwili was not born in Germany, but in 1983, in Tbilisi, Georgia. Today she lives in Hamburg. As your colleague, Barbetta she writes her prose texts and plays in the German language. And there are also Connecting to the other titles Shortlisted for 2018: Haratischwili looks back into the abyss, “which have opened up between the rubble of the crumbling Soviet Empire”, as the blurb from the publisher.

Nino Haratischwili

It is the story of the Russian oligarch Alexander Orlov, of “the General” called to the eternal question of crime and punishment and the inhuman mechanisms of the war.

“It was impossible to trust this man, he wore too much despair, too much self-hatred, too much contempt. He would have to painfully discharged, and nobody was in front of this discharge, for sure.”

Haratischwilis narrative leads back to the year 1994, her heroine is 17 years old. In the North Caucasus, the young Chechen woman has been raped Nura and murdered. The guilt remains unpunished. In Berlin, the time of reckoning has come. Nino Haratischwilis novel reads with his short, clear sentences as a Thriller. The real tragedy, and the moral Dimension opens up only in the reversal of the stylistic understatement.

Nino Haratischwili: “the cat and The General”, Frankfurter Verlagsanstalt, 750 pages


Susanne Röckel: “The Bird God”

The bird God is a Carrion stinking vultures, but to his followers he appears as a powerful and worship-worthy God. The cult disciples themselves are a bit bird-like. Discovered and killed – which is only in looking back, clear – the teacher and bird hunter Konrad Weyde, somewhere in the folds of the civilized world map, in a harsh, dilapidated village. Weye leaves behind an unpublished manuscript that testifies to the sinister Power of the bird:

“Yes, I would disappear – and that of my children and their children -from the light to forget, would dissolve our outlines, our body would become blurred with the shadow of the earth, and the darkness of the universe would remain on the eyes and if swallowed – this God, whose authority I could not doubt that he would…”

Susanne Röckel

Röckel describes after this prologue, the encounter with the bird-God from the different perspectives of Weyes three children. In a very different way, succumb to the pull of the mythical creature, fascinated by his cult.

The failed student of medicine Theodor follows him in a not exactly pinpointed, loin area, the former British, once a tourist colony Aza. But instead of children in Aza-Town help, he is kept from the action. After a blood frenzy, he ends up in the madhouse.

His sister, the artist Dora is lost in an altarpiece, “The Madonna with the wild strawberry” in which it searches for a previous massacre to decrypt this cult of the bird-God. The Journalist Lorenz reveals, finally, what Makes the followers of the bird of God have today.

Susanne Röckel transports the reader in her novel in a dark, secret world. However, this mysterious world with its startling violence and natural enemy of the rule of law appears at the end of our presence more and more similar.

Susanne Röckel: The bird-God, the young and the Young publishing house, 272 pages


Stephan Thome: “God of the barbarians”

This novel could only write a sinologist. Stephan Thome studied philosophy, religious studies and Sinology, and lives and works since 2005, in Taiwan’s capital of Taipei. He is in the Chinese history and culture at home. His previous novels, two of which were already on the Shortlist for the German book prize-nominated, played so far in Germany, in his native Hesse. For his new novel he has of the history of his adopted homeland China for inspiration.

With the opium wars of 1840-42, the semi-colonial dependency of China began. The British Empire forced the Opening of the ports and flooded the country with Opium. The Chinese silver currency float, the Chinese Empire and impoverished. In the second opium war in 1860, the Englishman in China dropped even more. It is a fascinating story that at the same time in the Interior of the country, a Christian and egalitarian raised motivated Rebellion against the Imperial house. It was led by the mystic Hong Xiuquan. He wanted to create a Kingdom with a utopian moves, a Kingdom of heaven on earth: the “Taiping also acted”. The Taiping rebellion was defeated in a year-long Fight by the Qing army. He demanded tens of millions of victims.

Stephan Thome

Stephan Thome uses this historical Scene as a documentary film for its captivating novel. Many of his figures are historically documented. The other, fictional for atmosphere: His Hero, the young German missionary Philipp, the breaks in 1850, rather randomly, after China, and as a Fei-Li-Pu there remains, joins the rebels. But his hope for a better world will be disappointed, he flees along with another missionary:

“‘The God of justice and of the Brave’, the language of the missionary, according to. ‘Because you command it, we leave the city, which should have been the new Jerusalem and the new Sodom. The reigns here, is called your son, and is in truth the one, it says: broken All to his idols and to be the hire of a whore shall be burnt with fire. So your Holy Grimm meet because the city and kill what is in them, fornication, covetousness, evil desire, and idolatry.'”

Thome is a Chinese historical novel full of feelings, moods, colors, and odors is made possible, without an exotic look. He is not projected from the outside, but told from the inside, and without the desire to fulfill cheesy expectations.

Stephan Thome: God of the barbarians, Suhrkamp, 720 pages

Last year, writer Robert Menasse prize of the German book.