I’m looking for some recommendations here.
On my recent weekend away to Germany, I noticed that my German has become quite rusty again. I say “quite rusty”… I mean that I can still translate about 800-1000 words an hour without too many problems, but in conversation I was struggling to find that elusive word “achieve” (“erzielen” or “schaffen”).
So that, along with the fact that I hardly read any German books at all, and when I do they’re usually in translation from the English, means it’s time to make an effort on this front.
I have borrowed and ripped a whole stack of German audiobooks from the Book Accumulator, including translations of The Spy Who Came In From The Cold, Candide, and a whole set of Georges Simenon’s MAIGRET stories. The only German audiobooks I took were Faust and a radio play (!) of Heinrich Böll’s The Lost Honour of Katharina Blum.
A brief trip to Westminster library a few days ago led to me tripping my way back to my client across Mount St Gardens with 4 German novels in hand:
Berhand Schlink’s The Reader and Perfume, a smaller Böll (The Bread of Our Youth) and W. G. Sebald’s Austerlitz.
But what I’m really looking for here are novels I must read in the original German which are less famous in translation (I’ve already read two of those above in translation, although in my pre-blogging days). What are the classics of German literature that I would have read as a school child in Germany?