The King of China
Translated by Katy Derbyshire
184 pp, 5 x 8 inches December 2013
ISBN : 9780857421654
Rs 495.00 (HB)
When Keith Stapperpfennig and his family give their grandfather the trip of a lifetime—an all expenses paid holiday to any destination in the world—the eccentric old man arbitrarily chooses China, and he asks Keith to accompany him. But when Keith loses all the money for the journey at a casino, he goes into hiding—mostly under his desk—and his grandfather—equally uninterested in actually traveling to China—heads down the road to engage in a similar subterfuge.
And it is here that the novel opens, two men in hiding, mere miles apart. But when his grandfather dies unexpectedly, Keith is left to continue the farce alone. With the aid of a guidebook, Keith writes a series of letters home to his brothers and sisters, detailing their imaginary travels and the bizarre sights they see. These start off harmlessly, but before long he starts adding invented details: non-stop dental hygiene shows on television, dog vaccinations at the post office—and the letters get longer and longer. Engaging, strange, and ultimately moving, this hilarious novel from Tilman Rammstedt won him the prestigious Ingeborg Bachmann Prize in 2008 and confirmed him as one of Germany’s most compelling writers.
Tilman Rammstedt's novel won him the prestigious Ingeborg Bachmann Prize in 2008 and sealed his fame as one of Germany's most fabulous liars. Tilman Rammstedt was born in Bielefeld in 1975 and lives in Berlin. He has published three novels and one short-story collection.
Katy Derbyshire co-edits www.no-mans-land.org, an online magazine of contemporary German writing in English, and co-hosts a monthly translation lab in Berlin. She has translated books by Helene Hegemann, Clemens Meyer, Inka Parei (Shadow-Boxing Woman and What Darkness Was for Seagull Books), Simon Urban, Dorothee Elmiger (Invitation to the Bold of Heart for Seagull Books) and Sibylle Lewitscharoff (Apostoloff, forthcoming from Seagull Books).