Against the World
Translated by Katy Derbyshire
6 x 9 inches, 968 pp. July 2016
ISBN : 9780857423375
Rs 950.00 (HB)
On its publication in German, Against the World was hailed as an immediate classic. 'One of the most spectacular debuts of recent decades,' said Kulturspiegel, while Der Spiegel went even farther: 'Against the World is the book of books.' Now English-language readers will get their first chance to see what German readers have already learned: this is a big, ambitious, over-the-top masterpiece.
Set in the East Friesia region of Germany in the mid-1970s, Against the World tells the story of Daniel Kuper, the nominal heir to a drugstore dynasty, and his struggle to free himself from the petty suspicions and violence of small-town life. A delicate, secretive boy with too much imagination and too few opportunities, he becomes the target of outrage and fear when strange phenomena convulse the town: snowfall in summer, inexplicable corn circles, a boy dead under the wheels of a train, swastikas crudely daubed on walls. Fingers point, and they single out Kuper. The more he tries to prove his innocence, the more fierce the accusations, until his only option is open war against the village and its inhabitants.
An unforgettable debut, Against the World is an epic account of growing up an outsider, and the pain, violence and betrayal that accompany exclusion.
Jan Brandt is a German journalist and writer.
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).