Translated by Wieland Hoban
5 x 8 inches, 298pp. August 2010
ISBN : 9781906497545
Rs 495.00 (HB)
In Young Light, novelist Ralf Rothmann paints a delicate portrait of a twelve-year-old boy named Julian growing up in a mining community in 1960s Germany. The book covers only a few summer weeks, following Julian’s gradual social and sexual awakening amidst his parent’s financial and marital problems. Avoiding any overt drama in the description of his predicaments and observations, Rothmann instead creates a quiet sense of hope and new beginnings. His subtle, restrained prose captures the unarticulated, yet increasingly conscious feelings of the boy as he approaches the end of childhood, but still remains very remote from the adult world he sees around him. From his stressed, exhausted mother to their suspicious neighbour Herr Gorny, the adult characters remind him of his own powerlessness rather than offering encouragement; but his little sister Sophie proves his most devoted ally, gently standing up to their mother’s fits of rage. As the novel progresses, Julian becomes increasingly aware of the weaknesses and failures of the adults; despite his difficulties in understanding what goes on around him, one senses a wisdom and integrity that sets him apart from many of the other characters in his life. Rothmann’s refreshingly unpretentious style offers the perfect medium for this portrait of ambivalent youthful consciousness.
Called “a grand master of his craft” by Neue Zürcher Zeitung, and “among the best and brightest that contemporary German literature has to offer” by Fuldaer Zeitung, Ralf Rothmann is one of Germany´s most gifted writers. Fire Doesn't Burn is a dark recasting of the delicate reunification of East and West as a chronicle of erotic desire and an extraordinary rediscovery of emotion and place.
Wieland Hoban is a British composer who lives in Germany. He has translated several works from German, including many by Theodor W. Adorno.
Seagull World Literature