Christoph Hein

Weiskern's Legacy - Novel

(German title: Weiskerns Nachlass)
ca. 319 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. As of 2002, Suhrkamp Verlag has acquired the world rights to the works of Christoph Hein. He has garnered numerous literary awards for his work. When the Pen centres in East and West merged, Christoph Hein was President of the German Pen Centre from 1998 to 2000.

Awards (selection):
2013: Stefan-Heym-Prize
2012: Uwe-Johnson-Prize
2010: Eichendorff-Literaturpreis
2008: Walter-Hasenclever-Literaturpreis
2004: Schiller-Gedächtnispreis des Landes Baden-Württemberg
2002: Österreichischer Staatspreis für Europäische Literatur
2000: Solothurner Literaturpreis
1998: Peter-Weiss-Preis der Stadt Bochum
1994: Bundesverdienstkreuz
1990: Erich-Fried-Preis (Wien)
1983: Deutscher Kritikerpreis

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Has life become a forgery?

Rüdiger Stolzenburg, 59 years old, has been working as a part-time adjunct at a cultural studies institute for the past fifteen years. His career is flatlining, and on his meagre salary he can barely make ends meet. He is a prototypical member of the academic precariat. Stolzenburg is working on an edition of the complete works of Friedrich Wilhelm Weiskern, an 18th century Viennese actor, librettist and cartographer, but he has been unable to find anyone willing to fund or publish this work. On top of all that, the supposedly sensational new material discovered among Weiskern’s papers turns out to be a forgery.

When an additional tax claim from the government threatens to ruin him, Rüdiger Stolzenburg suddenly realises how precarious it all is: the world, the economy, politics, relationships. Everything falls apart, erupts into violence, and for the most part there is nothing behind the hollow façade. In Rüdiger Stolzenburg, Christoph Hein has created a character who reflects all the symptomatic perils facing our society and our civilisation here at the end of the first decade of the 21st Century. Hein has succeeded in producing a highly relevant, realistic, and finely crafted social novel for the age.


»Weiskerns Nachlass is classic Hein. In a case study at once social and psychological, the reader experiences the protagonist’s bewilderment at contemporary society and anguish as he recalls incidents from his past that have led to his current plight. […] Hein’s work have consistently achieved wide appeal, and this novel also turn a mirror on some universal aspects of European societies: ageing, the crisis of higher education, the plight of older people, rising street violence, generation gaps, and the marginalization of literature in the digital age.« New Books in German

»Christoph Hein’s new book is probably the most distinct novel of the season.« Judith von Sternburg, Berliner Zeitung

»Christoph Hein’s reputation as an incorruptible commentator of our times has been reinforced with Weiskerns Nachlass. […] It celebrates the renaissance for the Leitmotif, a perfection of form, as is the book as a whole.« Katrin Hillgruber, Tagesspiegel

»Weiskerns Nachlass seems to be the artistic unification of dramatist and prose author Christoph Hein’s hitherto separate fields of literary work. […] Christoph Hein has published a finely constructed, finely balanced and cunning novel, exploring the forms of realistic narrative in new ways.« Christian Metz, FAZ

»A social novel with verve and anger.« Janina Fleischer, Dresdner Neueste Nachrichten

»Weiskerns Nachlass is not only entertaining in its laconic descriptions of our social status quo; it is also extremely unsettling.« Jürgen Kanold, Südwestpresse

Other publications

Trutz/Trutz (2017)

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France (Métailié)

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

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

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

Frau Paula Trousseau/Ms. Paula Trousseau (2007)

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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)

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

Landnahme/Settlement (2004)

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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)

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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)

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

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

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