Andreas Maier

The Room - Novel

(German title: Das Zimmer)
ca. 203 pages
Andreas Maier
Foto: Andreas Maier
© Jürgen Bauer

Andreas Maier, born in Bad Nauheim in 1967, lives in Hamburg. Among numerous other honors, he was awarded the ZDF aspekte Prize, the Robert Gernhardt Preis, the Wilhelm Raabe Prize and the Franz Hessel Prize.

»The most talented blusterer among the younger generation of writers.« Die Zeit

»A name to remember.« Frankfurter Rundschau


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Long-listed for the German Book Prize 2010


Uncle J, the novel’s anti-hero, is not a character you readily identify with. Uncle J was a forceps delivery, which explains why he is not really all there. Still a child in many ways, he has grown older all the same, and has had to get by somehow.

Now he is thirty and is madly in love, with a Volkswagen Type 3 Variant, which he drives around between the yellow fields of rape. It is 1969, the year in which man first landed on the moon, while other men frequented the brothels around the railway station in Frankfurt am Main.

With brilliant irony, Andreas Maier describes Uncle J’s carefree detachment from the real world, his lack of a sense of history. The coordinates of a typical day in Uncle J’s life span his armchair enthusiasm for mountain climbing, his love of Wehrmacht tanks, and Frankfurt’s prostitutes. Uncle J suddenly becomes recognisable as a person to whom the concept of guilt, or guilt by connection, just does not apply, even in the most dubious of situations. He’s someone who doesn’t grasp at chances because he can’t, and meanwhile the world around him prepares for a hopeless future as if for salvation itself.

The Room is both memoir and novel, perhaps even the beginning of an epic family saga, a reflection on time and civilisation, on human dignity and how it can be preserved.


»At first glance, Maier is an anti-modernist full of self-mockery, a hilarious master of exaggeration, but at second glance he turns out to be a metaphysically charged empiricist of the present […] This book is more than local history. It is also a history of the people and the presence, with the bizarre and charming character of Onkel J at its centre« Hubert Spiegel, FAZ on Andreas Maier’s collection of columns Onkel J. Heimatkunde

»Someone who is enraged at his country the way you can only be if you infinitely love it.« Frankfurter Rundschau

»Anyone interested in literature […] knows that Andreas Maier is one of the most remarkable German language authors.« Wiener Zeitung

»As diabolical and sublime as one can imagine a writer to be.« Journal Frankfurt

»The Room is a novel about home, in which Maier sniffs out the rot in the idyll and reveals the lovelessness that holds it together. The fact that the reader nevertheless regrets the looming decline of this provincial town is a testament to the author’s consummate skill.« Spiegel

»Andreas Maier’s novel The Room is a reluctant declaration of love for a lifelong loser, a man who was abused by his fellow men as the archetypal failure and classic victim. It presents the mental history of a generation that enthusiastically embraced the moon landing and enforced motorisation and got fobbed off with depressing city by-pass roads instead.« Michael Braun, NZZ

»The Room is a portrait of home that goes far beyond the usual memory writing and run-of-the-mill evocations of childhood. Maier takes the little details and particulars and develops an analysis of the history of West Germany, which is nevertheless resolutely narrative to the core.« Jörg Magenau, Tagesspiegel

»The subject matter is nothing less than the defence of provincial life, which in this case is also a defence of childhood. Andreas Maier celebrates the static world he comes from without false idealisation or idolisation.« Christopher Schmidt, SZ

Other publications

Bullau/Bullau (2017)

Rights available

Der Ort/The Town (2015)

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Italy (Del Vecchio), Denmark (Batzer)

Die Straße/The Street (2013)

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Italy (Del Vecchio), Denmark (Rosenkilde & Bahnhof)

Das Haus/The House (2011)

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Italy (Del Vecchio), Denmark (Rosenkilde & Bahnhof)

Sanssouci/Sanssouci (2009)

Rights available

Kirillow/Kirillow (2005)

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Spanish world rights (Adriana Hidalgo Editora), Russia (Ast-Press Kniga), Netherlands (Ambo/Anthos), Poland (ATUT)

Klausen/Klausen (2002)

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English world rights (Open Letter), Spanish world rights (Tusquets), Russia (Ast-Press Kniga), France (Actes Sud), Italy (Aliberti)

Domestic Rights Sales: German Audiobook (Der Hörverlag)

Wäldchestag/Adomeit’s Will (2000)

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Spanish world rights (Adriana Hidalgo), Russia (Ast-Press Kniga), France (Métailié), Slovenia (Litera)

Domestic Rights Sales: German Book Club (Der Club Bertelsmann)