Christoph Hein

Ahead of Time - Corrections

(German title: Vor der Zeit)
ca. 189 pages
Christoph Hein
Foto: Christoph Hein
© Heike Steinweg

Born in 1944, Christoph Hein lives in Berlin. He has written novels, novellas, short stories, plays, essays and children’s books. His most recent novels were on the Spiegel bestseller list for weeks. His recent awards include the 2019 Prix du Meilleur livre étranger (for Glückskind mit Vater), the 2019 Samuel Bogumił Linde Prize and the 2017 Grimmelshausen Prize.

Awards (selection):
2019: Prix du Meilleur livre étranger (for Glückskind mit Vater)
2019: Samuel Bogumił Linde Prize
2017: Grimmelshausen Literature Prize
2013: Stefan Heym Prize
2012: Uwe Johnson Prize
2010: Eichendorff Literature Prize
2008: Walter Hasenclever Literature Prize
2004: Schiller Memorial Prize of the State of Baden-Württemberg
2002: Austrian State Prize for European Literature
2000: Solothurner Literature Prize
1998: Peter Weiss Prize of the City of Bochum
1994: Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany
1990: Erich Fried Prize (Vienna)
1983: Deutscher Kritikerpreis

Rights available


A new take on antiquity

In his latest work, Christoph Hein, the great chronicler of the present, fastidious recorder of the internal contradictions of the GDR and diagnostician of the flaws in the development of the unified Germany, turns his attention to the myths, gods, and tales of the deeds and misdeeds of antiquity. In his investigations he makes an exciting discovery: a few minor corrections to the traditionally immutable stories of the actions and defeats of the gods and titans are enough to completely invert their achievements; they show that everything could just as well have been completely different, that the victors can become the vanquished, good intentions turn into their opposite, and completely new meanings come to the fore.

These new stories by Christoph Hein take aim for the heart of the present.


»And so thanks to its beleaguered and completely believable protagonist, Christoph Hein’s novel turns out to be a work of art written in a graceful and yet realistic prose and with a perceptive view of the problems of the present.« Irene Binal, ORF

»Christoph Hein is a sober storyteller with a sense for comedy.« Christoph Schröder, Frankfurter Rundschau

»After reading this book, one begins to see how global and local politics may be regarded as the continuation of classical myth. The book won’t change the world, but it will change the way you look at it.« Janina Fleischer, Hannoversche Allgemeine Zeitung

»This book demonstrates once again the incredible power of these ancient tales. The fact that they still, two and a half millennia after their creation, provide food for thought, is what makes them the primordial elements of our understanding of the world. Authors like Christoph Hein are continually able to raise up that which was sunken in them and make it sparkle and dazzle once more.« Herbert Heinzelmann, Nürnberger Zeitung

»That’s the great thing about Christoph Hein’s stories: he fills in the blanks in these ancient texts. Many things that appear obscure suddenly become plausible, whilst other things are called into question.« Karin Grossmann, Sächsische Zeitung

»Christoph Hein’s Ahead of Time is a very canny, stylistically beautiful book, an excellent example of the creative rewriting of ancient myth.« Christian Schachreiter, Oberösterreichsiche Nachrichten

»Hein is sanguine, which makes him the perfect Charon. Let us trust him, this abductor.« Kathrin Krautheim, Hermann, Das Magazin aus Cottbus 8/2013

»They’re fun, these modern interpretations of ancient humanity!« Christel Berger, Ossietzky

Other publications

Guldenberg/Guldenberg (2021)

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Verwirrnis/Befuddlement (2018)

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France (Métailié)

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Trutz/Trutz (2017)

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Glückskind mit Vater/Portrait of a Son With Father (2016)

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Weiskerns Nachlass/Weiskern's Legacy (2011)

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Frau Paula Trousseau/Ms. Paula Trousseau (2007)

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In seiner frühen Kindheit ein Garten/In his early childhood, a garden (2005)

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Mama ist gegangen/Mama Has Gone (2005)

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Landnahme/Settlement (2004)

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Willenbrock/Willenbrock (2000)

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Von allem Anfang an/Von allem Anfang an (1997)

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Der Tangospieler/The Tango Player (1989)

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Horns Ende/Horn's End (1985)

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Japan (Dogakusha); previously published in the respective language / territory; rights available again: Russia (Raduga), France (Métailié), Italy (e/o), Netherlands (Van Gennep), Denmark (Gyldendal), Sweden (Norstedt), Norway (Gyldendal Norsk), Finland (Otava), Poland (PIW), Czech Republic (Odeon), Slovakia (Slovenský spisovatel), Hungary (Europa), Bulgaria (Emas), Romania / Republic of Moldova (Univers), Estonia (Eesti Raamat), Israel (Sifriat Poalim)

Der fremde Freund. Drachenblut/The Distant Lover (1982)

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