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Uwe Tellkamp

The Tower - Tale from a Sunken Country

Novel
(German title: Der Turm)
ca. 976 pages
Clothbound
2008
Uwe Tellkamp
Foto: Uwe Tellkamp
© Brigitte Friedrich

Uwe Tellkamp was born in 1968 in Dresden. After his military service he lost his place at university to study medicine due to ‘political unreliability’, was arrested in the course of events in 1989, and afterwards continued his studies in Leipzig, New York and Dresden. After graduation he worked as a surgeon in an accident and emergency clinic in Dresden. He now lives as a writer in Freiburg.

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English world rights print (Penguin Press), English world rights digital (Frisch & Co.), Spanish world rights (Anagrama), Catalan rights (Anagrama-Empuries), France (Grasset; French book club sublicense: Grand Livre du Mois; French paperback sublicense: J'ai lu), Italy (Bompiani), Netherlands (Arbeiderspers), Denmark (Gyldendal), Sweden (Bonniers), Norway (Press), Hungary (Magvetö), Bulgaria (Atlantis), Romania (Curtea Veche), Serbia (Zlatni Zmaj), Turkey (Ithaki), Greece (Kastaniotis)

Domestic Rights Sales: German Audiobook (Der Hörverlag), German Book Club (Der Club Bertelsmann), German Book Club Paperback (Weltbild), German Book Club Special Edition (Büchergilde Gutenberg)

German Book Prize 2008

About

House music, books, intellectual exchange. A residential quarter in Dresden, its dilapidated villas turning grey under »real-existing Socialism«, continues to keep the outside world at bay. With humorous resignation, the residents comment upon the demise of a social system in which the »Bildungsbürger« is not foreseen.

Anne and Richard Hoffmann, a nurse and a surgeon, are torn between conformity and rebellion. Can the demands of the system be escaped by fleeing into the kind of nostalgic Dresden niche, or is it high time to apply for an exit visa? Their oldest son Christian experiences the brutality of the Nationale Volksarmee meanwhile his uncle Meno, by contrast, is enjoying privileged access to both worlds.

In epically written, lovingly detailed and dramatic scenes, Uwe Tellkamp unfolds a monumental panorama of the GDR in decline, a country in which three generations drift – helplessly in some cases, impatiently in others – towards the maelstrom of the 1989 revolution that will pull down the tower in its wake.

Praise

»If in future somebody expresses interest in knowing what things were really like in the late GDR, then hand them a copy of Uwe Tellekamp’s new novel. [...] Almost one thousand pages long, Der Turm is a tale from a sunken land that depicts the last years of Communism with an intensity unparalleled by any other post-1989 German work of literature. Just as today we see the lost world of the German bourgeoisie through the eyes of Thomas Mann, so later generations will read Tellkamp’s novel in order to re-experience the stagnation and implosion of the GDR.« Süddeutsche Zeitung

»Uwe Tellkamp’s Der Turm unfolds a grandiose panorama of the demise of the GDR in the ivory tower inhabited by the educated Dresden bourgeoisie.« Die Welt

 

International press coverage


»La Torre se lee con gozo, pues facilita la inmersión en este anacrónico ‘pais desaparecido’ de la burgesia cultural de la RDA. […] La sensualidad de los ambientes descritos es uno de los grandes logros de La Torre, que además seduce con la musicalidad de su lenguaje.« El País (Spain)

»Luxuriante tapisserie de personnages, ourdie de mille et une saynètes et situations, ponctuée de digressions poétiques, La Tour redonne vie à cette Allemagne fantôme. […] La Tour se dresse, tel un monument d’anti-mémoire contre l’oubli« Le Monde (France)

»Un grande Bildungsroman nella migliore tradizione tedesca, in cui l’autore ad ogni momento e da ogni luogo estrae gli odori, i sapori, la luce, le attese, i fremiti. La torre di Uwe Tellkamp è un’immersione totale nella vita della DDR, nelle sue contraddizioni, i suoi paradossi, nei veleni che ogni dittatura inocula nelle vite individuali.« Vanna Vannuccini, La Repubblica (Italy)

»Un fluviale romanzo, di fronte al quale non si può che restare sbalorditi, gridando al miracolo […] Tellkamp ha scritto un’opere corale con un sapere enciclopedico, una sensibilità e una creatività linguistica incomparabili« Luigi Forte, La Stampa (Italy)

»La saga di una novella Atlantide affondata per sempre – raccontato con una lingua che è un miracolo di eleganza e profondità […] Un autentico capolavoro, un libro straordinario, vertiginoso […] Questo libro fra qualche decennio sarà ricordato come un punto fermo del secolo in corso« Mario Fortunato, L’espresso (Italy)

»Met zijn mammoetwerk Der Turm heeft Uwe Tellkamp […] zich in één klap geschaard onder de interessantste Duitse schrijvers van dit moment.« Wil Rouleaux, NRC Handelsblad (Netherlands)

»[…] een meesterwerk […] Hij beschrijft dat leven [in de DDR] in een taal en een stijl die bewondering afdwingen.« Jan Luijten, De Groene Amsterdammer (Netherlands)

»Uwe Tellkamp kreeg verleden najaar de Deutscher Buchpreis voor Der Turm. Na drie dagen lezen, begrijpt men waarom.« Michaël Zeeman, de Volkskrant (Netherlands)

»Episk storværk om Den Tyske Demokratiske Repubbliks sidste år. Udover sine øvrige fortræffeligheder lukker Uwe Tellkamps roman for ethvert tilløb til ostalgi - og til eufori« Lars Bonnevie, Weekendavisen (Denmark)

»Universelt og tidløst: Uwe Tellkamp har med Tårnet skabt noget enestående, der rækker langt ud overWende-romanen i snæver forstand. Faktisk er det snarere Thomas Manns Buddenbrooks, man får i tankerne.« Mikael Busch, Morgenavisen Jyllandsposten (Denmark)

»Uwe Tellkamps roman skildrar livet i den döende folkrepubliken med kylskåpets paradox. Ett isande tillstånd som ändå utstrålar värme - den stora konstens energi.« Nils Schwartz, Expressen (Sweden)

»Så formar sig Tornet till en mörk familjekrönika, ett slags Fanny och Alexander där livslusten förlorar och den onde biskopen tar hem spelet. Det är sorgligt och vackert och starkt beroendeframkallande.« Jens Christian Brandt, Tidningen VI (Sweden)

»En stor roman på alle måter.« Ingrid Brekke, Aftenposten (Norway)

»Uwe Tellkamps DDR-roman Tårnet er på nivå med Thomas Mann, James Joyce og Marcel Proust.« Jonny Halberg, Morgenbladet (Norway)

»[…] ha egy csaknem ezeroldalas regényről kijelenthető, hogy mindössze alig több mint háromoldalnyi fölösleget tartalmaz, akkor az bízvást nevezhető remekműnek. Uwe Tellkamp német könyvdíjas regényére, A toronyra pedig igaz az iménti megállapítás. [...] A torony ugyanis nem csupán irodalmi és esztétikai értelemben, de sajátosan magyar szempontból is nagyon fontos regény. [...] Uwe Tellkamp, és a legkíméletlenebb pontossággal tárja elém – a mostani harmincas generáció tagja elé – az egész korszakot. A torony hatalmas tabló – nem csupán Drezdáról, hanem az egész kelet-közép-európai nyolcvanas évekről.« Babiczky Tibor, Népszabadság (Hungary)

»Tellkamp lassan, türelmesen és rendkívül aprólékosan festi meg a korabeli keletnémet világ freskóját. [...] lenyűgöző az a tudás, tapasztalat kor-, élet- és emberismeret, ami a regényben szép lassan kibontakozik.« Deczki Sarolta, Élet és Irodalom (Hungary)

»Чрез живота на героите си Телкамп представя точен поглед към един от най-решаващите периоди през двадесети век, зареден със скрит драматизъм и оставил отпечатък върху историята на целия Източен блок.« В-к „Монитор” (Bulgaria)

»Ако е налице някаква идентичност между автор и произведение – то в Кулата изпъква историческата антропология на обитателя на разгърналата се в пределната си форма ГДР. Една майсторска литературна форма дава израз и на една форма на живот. [...] В романа е съхранена колекция от спомени, каквато не може да предложи никой музей на близкото минало.« В-к „Култура” (Bulgaria)

Other publications

Die Schwebebahn/Suspension Railway (2010)

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International sales: Italy (Bompiani)

Domestic sales: German Audiobook (Der Hörverlag)