Stephan Thome


(German title: Grenzgang)
ca. 453 pages
Stephan Thome
Foto: Stephan Thome
© Heike Steinweg

Stephan Thome, born in 1972 in Biedenkopf, studied Philosophy and Sinology at the Freie Universität in Berlin and at various universities in China, Taiwan and Japan. He worked in East Asia for ten years and has also lived in Lisbon. His novels Border Crossing (original title: Grenzgang, 2009) and Centrifugal Forces (original title: Fliehkräfte, 2012) were both shortlisted for the German Book Prize. His work has won several prizes. Stephan Thome lives in Taipei.

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Shortlisted for the German Book Prize 2009

aspekte Prize for Literature 2009


Every seven years the small town Bergenstadt celebrates Grenzgang – a three-day folk-festival, during which the people not only walk on the borders of their hometown. It is about testing the limits of how far one can go.

Everybody is there, only two stand in the back: Thomas Weidmann and Kerstin Werner. He is returning to his hometown, after failing his University career, to become a teacher at the local high school. She struggled through a divorce and is now caretaker of her senile mother and her troubled teenage son. They have met once before at the last Grenzgang. But the memory of what had happened evokes mixed feelings. The search for happiness brought both of them from Berlin and Cologne to the Hessen countryside and eventually leads them to a swinger club on the outskirts of Frankfurt.

Borderwalk is the furious debut of the young author Stephan Thome who shows how shaky the foundations of self-conception are and that there is no alternative but to struggle for personal happiness.


»In no other novel does one dwell as freely as in this. No other has more charm. The debutant of the year.« Elmar Krekeler, Die Welt

»Stephan Thome proves himself as a master of the art of dialogue. He traces the inner contradictions and ambivalent attitudes of his characters, showing as humans our own boundaries and how we fathom them. And the most astonishing part: the author is a debutant. Borderwalk is his first novel. […] There has not been a more mature debut of this type in German literature for a long time.« Volker Hage, Der Spiegel

»Rarely is one told so fascinatingly about failure in life as by Stephan Thome, who with his first book Borderwalk has instantly established himself as a serious author.« Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

»Whoever reads his novel, Borderwalk, a frenetic work on the gender problem of our time, pauses momentarily and asks himself: How does the young man know all this? How can he describe these feelings so vividly, like he had experienced and them many times before? There has not been a debut of such maturity in along time.« Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung

»Is this book perfect? Yes, it is...« NZZ am Sonntag

»Thome seeks to show life as it is. And he manages to do it, with an artistry, a technical virtuosity, and a charm that is seldom encountered. This novel is alive.« Die Welt

Other publications

Gott der Barbaren/God of the Barbarians (2018)

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Chinese simplex rights (Social Sciences Academic Press), Chinese complex rights (Linking)

Domestic Rights Sales: German Audiobook (Griot)

Gegenspiel/Counterplay (2015)

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Chinese complex rights (Linking)

Domestic rights sales: German Audiobook (DAV), German Entire Radio Readings (SWR and NDR), German Book Club (Büchergilde Gutenberg)

Fliehkräfte/Centrifugal Forces (2012)

Sold to:

Chinese simplex rights (People's Literature Publishing House), Chinese complex rights (Linking)

Domestic Rights Sales: German Audiobook (DAV), German Book Club Rights (Büchergilde Gutenberg)