Preparations – Mein Jahr in der Niemandsbucht

I’ve started my preparations for The German Literature Month by selecting some second-hand informations on the works I am about to read.

Since I’m a thoroughly unsystematic person, I will start with Peter Handke, who I intend to read in week 2.

I found this review on the web:

It’s as if Robinson Crusoe had set up camp near Walden Pond, met John McPhee and Franz Kafka, and absorbed the former’s interests and the latter’s style and sensibility. But much of the novel is a lot better than that.

I have no idea who McPhee is, but Kafka – can anyone be compared to Kafka?! And when it comes to Walden Pond, I must admit it functions as an image of heaven in my dreams these days …

It might not be a good idea to have these lines from Kirkus in the back of my head when I start reading, we’ll see …

9 Comments Add yours

  1. I had no idea who John McPhee is either until this morning when I listened to a podcast interview with him:

    Odd coincidence then to see your post this afternoon given my fascination with Handke and Kafka. The opening of My Year… may explain why the Kirkus reviewer made the connection.

    1. Sigrun says:

      What a strange coincidence – !
      It’s very interesting to hear him explain his own way of working, instructive actually.
      Thank you for enlightening me!

  2. Anne Camille says:

    That photo is awesome! And so is the quote. I really like McPhee. Just finishing the recently published Silk Parachute, a collection of previously published personal essays. I don’t like the term “literary nonfiction” — why would anyone want to read anything that wasn’t ‘literary’ — but McPhee’s work certainly is literary and wonderful to read. I don’t know Handke, but if compared to McPhee and Kafka, I definitely need to do so.

    1. Sigrun says:

      Yes, its a great picture, isn’t it!
      Thank you for following up on McPhee. I would love to get to know his writing, which of his books would you suggest?

      Will you be participating in the German Month?

      1. Anne Camille says:

        I have one of McPhee’s books, Oranges, although I’ve read others. If you’d like, I’ll send you the copy that I have. I believe it’s been in the ‘discard’ pile for awhile, but I always have a hard time moving forward with the actual discarding. Would much rather give it to someone who I know will read it eventually. Email me with your address.

  3. Ann says:

    McPhee is very popular in the USA. His work is usually classed as “creative non-fiction” or “literary non-fiction,” though some people consider him an ecological writer or a journalist. Another interview link:

    I like McPhee’s book “The Founding Fish,” which is basically about the shad, a fish that once was very common along the coastal rivers of the eastern USA. I can imagine the relationship to Walden, therefore; but Kafka? That piques my interest.

    Much of Handke’s work has been published in English, but I’ve never read him. Maybe it’s time.

  4. Sigrun says:

    Anne Camille, that is really the most generous offer!

  5. Rebecca H. says:

    A German Literature month sounds great, although I’m not up for it right now. But I would like to read more contemporary German literature, and Handke would be a great place to start. I had one lovely day at Walden pond and yes, it IS a heavenly place.

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