Christoph Hein

Trutz - Novel

(German title: Trutz)
ca. 477 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

One of the biggest authors of contemporary German literature


A brilliant chronicle of the lives of two families in 20th century Germany and Russia. The futile hope for an existence beyond misery and slavery. Encompassing an entire century, reflecting an entire century.

Trutz is a 20th century novel, the one written by novelist Rainer Trutz and the one written by Waldemar Gejm, a professor for mathematics and linguistics at Moscow’s Lomonosov University who has developed a new field of research: the mnemonic technique, or in other words, the teaching of origins and the function of memory. Official party control of thought in state positions in the coming years, however, will become Trutz’s as well as Gejm’s downfall: having fled the Nazis for Russia, the German will run into trouble with the Party and be interred in a labour camp. The back-and-forth of comrade Stalin’s politics will also lead to Gejm’s deportation and eventual death. Only the two sons, Maykl Trutz and Rem Gejm, close friends from early childhood, survive and meet each other again decades later after the fall of the Wall. And yet, the very century that would not have to rely on state-sanctioned memory works unceasingly to extinguish memory.


»Trutz is, in the best sense of the term, an exciting history book.« Christoph Schröder, Süddeutsche Zeitung

»Hein has read widely and saunters through the Soviet decades as if he had lived through them himself, but never loses himself in his knowledge. That a novelist is able to remain in control while his characters experience all kind of turmoil may sound out-dated. And yet, this is precisely what makes Trutz a great novel as it passes into long-term memory.« Judith von Sternburg, Frankfurter Rundschau

»Once again, ever the passionate chronicler, Hein manages to mirror historical events in the lives of his protagonists while transforming harrowing ones like the book burning in May 1933 or the Hitler-Stalin Pact of August 1939 into personal hardships.« Katrin Hillgruber, Der Tagesspiegel

»Hein is – in spite of the novel’s theme – a sensual fabulist who does not shy from seeking out the dark corners of his family’s epic. The setting of his detail-rich novel couldn’t have been researched and recreated any better« Christian Buß, Spiegel Online

»Hein delivers his family saga with cool, documentary-like precision. He meticulously made his way through German and Russian files, as well as all the archives of denunciations and death sentences. He has read the biographies of the victims, and recounts fates that make us both sad and furious. Instead of literary pirouettes, Hein runs rampant with world history, his novel a harrowing chronicle of horror.« Reinhold Jaretzky, Mitteldeutscher Rundfunk artour – Das Kulturmagazin des MDR

»With this historically wide-ranging novel Hein yet again continues effortlessly to virtuosity…This novel is tremendously gripping and touching.« Frankfurter Neue Presse

»This novel declares no winner in the battle between science and art. But it is both at the same time: a great example of storytelling and the result of painstaking scientific research.« U. Gellermann, rationalgalerie.de

»A great novel from German chronicler Christoph Hein which adds to his monumental lifework.« Welf Grombacher, Freie Presse

»Hein writes an unpretentious, artless, simple but never banal prose. He delivers the most painful blows with a casualness that takes your breath away.« Christian Eger, Mitteldeutsche Zeitung

»With his grim novel Trutz Christoph Hein, one of the most important German writers working today, offers up a stunning and painful book. A precise and observant chronicler with a great feeling for society’s incongruities…a brilliantly researched book.« Rainer Kasselt, Sächsische Zeitung

Other publications

Guldenberg/Guldenberg (2021)

Sold to:

Domestic Rights Sales: German Audiobook (DAV)

Verwirrnis/Befuddlement (2018)

Sold to:

France (Métailié)

Domestic Rights Sales: German Audiobook (DAV)

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

Sold to:

Arabic world rights (Sefsafa), France (Métailié), Italy (e/o), Denmark (Gyldendal), Bulgaria (Atlantis)

Domestic Rights Sales: German Audiobook (DAV), German Entire Radio Reading (MDR)

Weiskerns Nachlass/Weiskern's Legacy (2011)

Sold to:

France (Métailié)

Film rights (SBS Production)

Frau Paula Trousseau/Ms. Paula Trousseau (2007)

Sold to:

English world rights (Metropolitan), French world rights (Métailié), Italy (e/o), Hungary (Europa)

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

Sold to:

English world rights (Metropolitan), France (Métailié), Italy (e/o), Denmark (Gyldendal)

Mama ist gegangen/Mama Has Gone (2005)

Sold to:

Chinese simplex rights (21st Century Publishing House)

Landnahme/Settlement (2004)

Sold to:

English world rights (Metropolitan), Arabic world rights (Kanaan), France (Métailié), Italy (e/o), Denmark (Gyldendal), Slovakia (Kalligram), Hungary (Europa), Bulgaria (Emas), Georgia (Ibis), Israel (Hakkibutz Hamecheud)

Domestic Rights Sales: German Book Club (Bertelsmann), German Book Club Special Edition (Büchergilde Gutenberg)

Willenbrock/Willenbrock (2000)

Sold to:

English world rights (Metropolitan), Spanish world rights (Anagrama), France (Métailié), Italy (e/o), Denmark (Gyldendal), Norway (Gyldendal Norsk), Czech Republic (Volvox Globator), Bulgaria (Emas), Greece (Kastaniotis), Ukraine (Junivers)

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

Sold to:

French world rights (Métailié), Italy (e/o), Norway (Gyldendal Norsk), Korea (Thinking Tree)

Der Tangospieler/The Tango Player (1989)

Sold to:

Serbia (Radni Sto); previously published in the respective language / territory; rights available again: English world rights (FSG), Catalan rights (Climent), Russia (Raduga), France (Alinea), Italy (e/o), Denmark (Gyldendal), Sweden (Norstedt), Norway (Gyldendal Norsk), Finland (Otava), Hungary (Europa)

Horns Ende/Horn's End (1985)

Sold to:

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)

Sold to:

English world rights (Pantheon Books), Spanish world rights (Saymon), France (Métailié), Italy (e/o), Hungary (Magvetö), Bulgaria (Emas), Serbia (Radni Sto), Macedonia (Goten), Georgia (Ibis), Armenia (HGM "Areviq" Himnadram)