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Hans Magnus Enzensberger

A Handful of Anecdotes

»It is hard to shake off one’s date of birth. M. drags his around with him, too.« The first twenty years of life are baggage that a person is forever stuck with. But memory is a fragmentary and untrustworthy guide. That is why the author avails himself of the freedom of stage director and collage-maker, gathering together themes, images, and anecdotes into an Opus incertum. That is how the ancient Romans referred to a particular construction technique: »irregular work«.

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France (Gallimard)

Michael Esfeld

Science and Freedom

In his new book, philosopher Michael Esfeld defends scientific realism against conspiracy theorists and antirealists, but he also points out the limits of scientific explanations. Contrary to many exaggerated ambitions, they do not have the power to prescribe norms for the shaping of individual and societal life to people who have the ability to act freely. Scientific findings do not imply a predetermination of human actions and thoughts. The determinism in physics, biology or the neurosciences does in no way curtail human freedom. On the contrary: Science presumes the freedom to formulate, test and justify theories in the first place.

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Yannic Han Biao Federer

And Everything is Like Paper Mâché

It is the late summer of 2001 in the backwoods of Baden. On the television, there are images of the World Trade Centre collapsing. Jian is sixteen and in love with Sarah, but sleeps with Anna who has just broken up with Frank. After that, Sarah doesn’t want to have anything to do with Jian anymore, nor Jian with Anna, and Frank is caught up in his own self. Fifteen years later Anna is in a love-triangle, Frank is hidden away in the forest, and Jian comes across Sarah again in paparazzi photos. They have long since lost track of one another and yet Jian continues to narrate how their shared story might run.

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Max Frisch

Questionnaire

For the first time with three newly discovered, thus far unpublished questionnaires (on the topics of technology, alcohol and ethics)

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Denmark (Basilisk)
Domestic Rights Sales: German Book Club (Büchergilde Gutenberg)

Gunther Geltinger

Fuel

This isn’t the first time Alexander and Vinz have taken a trip together because their relationship has reached a crisis point. The road trip through South Africa is meant to give them clarity, and Vinz, the writer, hopes to get a new idea for a novel. Careening past street markets, Chicken Inns and hitchhikers, the two Germans make their way through a country where wealth and poverty collide, where homosexuality is taboo, and where they must face up to the part they too play in the general obliviousness of the white tourist.

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Ofir Raul Graizer

Ofir’s Kitchen

The regional cuisine of Israel and Palestine is Ofir’s Kitchen, familiar to him from his childhood in Israel and presented to us now in this book. The passionate chef shares 80 vegetarian recipes with us, rich in variation, elegant and yet easy to reproduce at home. With the help of a handful of ingredients and herbs, he leads us into his homeland. Elegant and colourful variations of Tahini, the famous sesame paste, for example; Mejadara, a one-pot dish of black lentils, plentiful onions and Freekeh, roasted green wheat; Labane, homemade cheese made of sour cream and yoghurt – for Ofir one of the highlights of Arab cuisine.

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Johannes Groschupf

Berlin Preppers

As an online-editor for a large daily newspaper, Walter Noack is in charge of eliminating rude remarks and hate speech from various comment sections. He is confronted with the most odious insults a thousand times a day. His nerves become even more frayed after he and subsequently a colleague are beaten seemingly at random by strangers, and his private life is shaken by loss.

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Film Rights (filmpool fiction)

Mechthild Grossmann, Dorothea Wagner

Better Late Than Never

What does being old feel like? Mechthild Grossmann is 79 and enjoys it. In this book, she talks about the big and small moments of getting older. About the wonderful freedom as well as about the phenomenon that friends suddenly want to talk about nothing but their illnesses – and no longer about good books or films.

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Peter Gülke

My Weimar

Weimar – »Athens on the Ilm« and »Goethe City« with the neighbouring town of Buchenwald. In this book, composer, musicologist and writer Peter Gülke, descendant of the Vulpius family, recalls the defining experiences of his life: the childhood in the city »the Führer« liked to visit so much; adolescence in the Stalinist GDR; the musical profession in the controlled state; the decision to leave the country in 1983, because the pressure exerted by the Stasi had become unbearable; the return to his »faraway, close-by, defiled, beloved Weimar«, which had become a different city, in 1990.

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Jürgen Habermas

This Too a History of Philosophy

The new book by Jürgen Habermas is also a history of philosophy. Employing a genealogical style it examines how today’s dominant forms of western post-metaphysical thought came into being. Using the discourse on faith and knowledge, which emerged from out of two strong axial-period traditions in the Roman Empire, as a guide, Habermas traces how philosophy successively disengaged itself from its symbiosis with religion and became secularised. From a systematic perspective and in great detail he presents the decisive conflicts, lessons learned, and turning points, as well as their accompanying transformations in science, law, politics, and society.

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English world rights (Polity), France (Gallimard)

Lea Haller

Transit Trade

Coffee, cotton, rubber: there are hardly any goods that are not shipped across the oceans. The driving force, however, is not the consumers, but the middlemen. Lea Haller presents a detailed history of the transit trade that makes up an enormous part of the global economy for the first time.

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Hermann Hesse

At Christmas Time

»My childhood days I think of now, / A long-forgotten fairy tale sound awakens: / Bells ring and on silver shoes / The Christkind walks though the white night.« It’s mainly childhood memories that the poet Hermann Hesse associates with Christmas. But the older he gets the more Hesse distances himself from the business-minded sentimentality that by now shapes the »holiday of love«. A dichotomy between awe and mocking distance permeates the contemplations and recollections gathered here that Hesse wrote on this »always wonderful holiday despite all falsehood«.

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Hungary (Helikon)

Hermann Hesse

»Trusting That We Won't Lose One Another«

It’s not easy being the son of a famous father. More so if that father is often absent and the family breaks apart. This correspondence, containing almost 300 hitherto unpublished letters, shows how Hermann Hesse and his sons Bruno and Heiner managed to establish a loving relationship throughout their lifetime »despite all difficulties«.

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E. T. A. Hoffmann

Mademoiselle de Scudéri

Paris, around 1680. A mysterious series of murders is shocking the capital. Young aristocratic men, on their way to a rendezvous, are stabbed to death by an unknown perpetrator and robbed of the valuable jewellery they carried with them as presents for their lovers. The king asks his court poet, 73-year-old Madeleine de Scudéri, to help out with the hunt for the murderer. She soon finds out that all the pieces of jewellery that have been taken come from the workshop of the famous goldsmith Cardillac. Is he not simply the creator of these masterpieces, but also a murderer and thief?

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Text by E. T. A. Hoffmann in the public domain, illustration rights available

E. T. A. Hoffmann

The Strange Child

Siblings Christlieb and Felix von Brakel live in the countryside with their parents. One day, their rich, worldly uncle Cyprianus comes to visit and brings them a »modern« mechanic toy from the city. He promises to provide them with a »suitable« private tutor so that they won’T »fall behind«. But the promised tutor, Master Tinte clad in black, turns out to be a sadist who hates children. And so they ask the magical »strange child«, whom they met on their walks in the woods, for help.

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Text by E. T. A. Hoffmann in the public domain, illustration rights available

Kristin Höller

Better Than Anywhere Else

It starts like a road movie: Martin and his best friend Noah are driving along the autobahn in a rented van. Their cargo: the spear of the bronze Athena on König Square in Munich, a trophy of an ecstatic summer’s night. Six hours later they are back at the places of their childhood: The play streets, the fennel fields, the gravel quarry they left behind years ago. Mugo is back too, smart, angry Mugo who always dreamed about escaping the backwoods and infected Martin with that dream. She wanted to leave the small town, the apartment block with a view of the single-family homes and carports. Now she works at the petrol station on the outskirts of the town and doesn’t want anything to do with Martin. Even Noah becomes stranger in the familiar environment. Left to his own devices, Martin is forced to rethink his relationship with his origins.

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Rahel Jaeggi

Progress and Regression

Progress denotes social change towards a situation in which conditions are becoming not only different, but better – by abolishing slavery, for example, or declaring rape within a marriage a crime. Many would agree to that, and yet, the notion of a general social progress has lost its appeal. It even elicits skepticism. On the other hand, the inclination to evaluate the increase of authoritarian resentments and right-wing populist movements as a kind of regression grows.

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Frank Jakubzik

Perceived Assurance

It starts with boring visits to relatives, on a crowded commuter train, at the shelf with the sorted-out books in the entrance area of the city library or in the rain in front of the door to your house. Then one thing leads to another with seemingly imperative logic: in worlds that are ever so slightly removed from the ordinary. Only so far removed, however, that we have no trouble recognising them as our own world and are nevertheless carried off by the author’s boundless empathy and imaginative power. Frank Jakubzik talks about people who are disappointed by the unexpected, and about the strangeness of the ordinary that keeps surprising and overwhelming us.

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Uffa Jensen

How the Couch Came to Calcutta

At the end of the 19th century in Vienna, Sigmund Freud founded psychoanalysis. It developed into a global phenomenon in just a few decades. Concepts like »super-ego«, »narcissism« or »the Oedipus complex« have long been a part of our everyday speech. In order to understand this dynamic development, Uffa Jensen considers three cities which, in addition to Vienna, were of great importance for the development of the psychoanalytic movement: Berlin, London and Calcutta.

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Dževad Karahasan

A House for the Wearied

Sarajevo, September 1914. In a newspaper editorial office, at the national bank and in other official locations, letters arrive with considerable delay, often years later. Yet it is not the war that has thrown the imperial and royal mail into confusion, but rather a postman in love who has fallen on the battlefield of the world war just unfolding.

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