You are here: Home » Tag Archives: books

Tag Archives: books

Feed Subscription

Novel based on Jew ‘catcher’ Stella Kübler stirs controversy

It tells the fictionalized true story of a woman who gave up her fellow Jews to the Nazis. Critics have condemned the novel Stella by Takis Würger, published this week in Germany, as "Holocaust kitsch." "We have a new literature debate," wrote Hannah Lühmann of the Die Welt newspaper when reflecting on the bombshell publication of Stella, a novel by journalist, author and war correspondent Takis Würger. Published by the prestigious Hanser Verlag on January 11, Stella fictionalizes the true story of Jewess Stella Kübler (née Goldschlag), who as a so-called "catcher" betrayed other Jews gone underground to the Gestapo. 'Nazi story for dummies?' Würger's second novel was inspired by the award-winning journalist's fascination for the subject. But while it's too early to judge the success of this study of a character who is already a book subject — for example, Peter Wyden's Stella: One Woman's True Tale of Evil, Betrayal, and Survival in Hitler's Germany — the vehement response to the novel by German critics has been striking. The Süddeutsche Zeitung reviewer wrote on January 11 that Stella is "an outrage, an insult and a real offense." Moreover, the work was described as "the symbol of an industry that seems to have lost any ethical or aesthetic scale if it wants to sell such a book as a valuable contribution to the memory of the Shoah." The critic further accused the author of having written the novel "without any awareness of the problem of literature, literacy and history." A reviewer for Die Zeit was equally scathing. "An abomination in children's book style: Takis Würger writes in Stella about a Jewish woman who becomes an accomplice in the Nazi era. It's a novel full of narrative clichés." Public radio broadcaster Deutschlandfunk described it as "Holocaust kitsch" and the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung asked: "Why this Nazi story for dummies?" Publishers weigh in Florian Kessler, cultural journalist and editor at Hanser Verlag, deflected the criticism on social media. In a detailed Facebook post, he responded, among other things, to the allegation by the Süddeutsche Zeitung that the novel would instrumentalize the Holocaust. "One can only answer: this discussion … rightly pervades the literature since '45," he wrote of a debate that has raged around so-called Holocaust literature in the postwar period. Kessler noted that Bernhard Schlink's novel The Reader, which became a hit Hollywood film, was also accused in the 1990s of mixing clichés and Holocaust instrumentalization. Shortly thereafter, he read the book at school in class.\ "We also talked about such allegations against it, and through the book's ambivalences and problems, we had very important and formative discussions about the Nazi period in my entire school years," he wrote. Read more: Holocaust satirist Elgar Hilsenrath dies at 92 Let the public decide Hannah Lühman of Die Welt was also surprised by the ferocity of the critical slating. But while she defended the novel as a whole, she added that many questions of course remain regarding, for example, "the choice of historical material; this extreme story of a Jewish woman who has betrayed hundreds of Jews to the Gestapo; what fantasies it may satisfy among non-Jewish Germans reading it." But she refused, according to Lühmann in his Facebook post, "to join in this scandal." It remains to be seen how the reading public will respond to Stella. Interest has been high in Germany, with the book launch and author reading in Hamburg on Monday sold out weeks in advance. And the novel has already garnered international attention: So far, nine foreign licenses have been sold, with the book set to be published in English, French, Spanish and Chinese, among others.

It tells the fictionalized true story of a woman who gave up her fellow Jews to the Nazis. Critics have condemned the novel Stella by Takis Würger, published this week in Germany, as “Holocaust kitsch.” “We have a new literature debate,” wrote Hannah Lühmann of the Die Welt newspaper when reflecting on the bombshell publication of Stella, a novel by ... Read More »

Why star children’s author Cornelia Funke distrusts words

She launched to fame with "Dagon Rider" 19 years ago and just released the sequel. Star kids' author Cornelia Funke tells DW why words can be challenging and why she's buying up a huge plot of land. Cornelia Funke cheerfully answers the phone at 9:30 a.m. California time. She had already been to the ocean, written a bit, made a few calls, and drunk her coffee. Every workday begins with a good cup of coffee, she says. Funke laughs sincerely and frequently, then speaks thoughtfully about her life, her work with words and pictures, and her relationship to fantasy and reality. Her children's fantasy novels, which she illustrated herself, have sold 20 million copies and been translated into 37 languages. DW: Ms. Funke, you have said that the world is full of stories. Which do you find particularly worthy of telling? Cornelia Funke: I am always interested in stories about people. Although I increasingly think that our species is a problematic one on this planet, I am still fascinated by it. I'm also fascinated by stories that stem from a particular place. That started with "The Thief Lord," which wouldn't have come into being if it weren't for Venice. In the stories I choose to tell, places always play the role of a hero. I have also always been interested in the non-human and our relationship to that - whether plants or animals or imaginary creatures. I'm interested in everything that scratches at and questions the so-called reality that we perceive. What scratches at your reality? When I'm standing on the street in Hamburg and there is one of those stepping stones under my feet, which is there to remind me of the Jews that were deported from the house I'm standing in front of, then that hugely scratches at the reality I find myself in at that moment. I might just have come back from a peaceful walk across the "Isemarkt" market square, for example. It scratches at my reality when a bird flies by me and I imagine how it views reality. It scratches at my reality when someone passes me by who has a different color of skin. How does that change the experience with world? We all know it does. It constantly scratches at my reality that we can perceive this world so differently. I find it absurd I'm asked so often why I write fantasy, because I think that reality is fantastic. And the only way to get closer to it is to write fantasy. Is that how you create your fantasy worlds? The world is fantastic. I don't have to create anything. Everyone who tries to get closer to the reality of this world will realize that it is, in its essence, fantastic. You just need to stand in a big city and look around. You'll notice that all of it has been created by humans. And humans really like to believe in the illusion that they have control over everything. That we decide how our lives work and how this world works. That we are the ones who can destroy this planet. But it's the other way around: This planet will destroy us. In this regard, humans are surprisingly immature and think their own reality to be so important. But this way of seeing the world is in the end always challenged, by illness, loss, love, death…our own mortality. You are also a skilled illustrator. Does thinking in images help you to write? What came first - the chicken or the egg? Am I an illustrator because I think visually? Or has my visual thinking grown stronger because I've always liked to draw? I would say that the visual thinking comes first. If you can draw well - which I thankfully have always been able to - it's sometimes easier to first capture an idea in images. So yes, my writing is deeply impacted by the fact that I am a visual person and distrust words. You distrust words? Can you give us an example? We constantly use words to try to get closer to what has no words. Music is in that superior to words, because it can easily express the wordless things - words always have something abstract about them that is controlled by our minds. Poetry gets often closer to what music can do. But when you write prose like I do, then the aim is to weave that which has no words in between the words. You can do that for example through the sound of language. The sound still contains more than the word itself. Are you being self-critical? hmmmm, I wouldn't call it self-criticism. Instead I would call it criticism of the material I work with. I see myself as a craftsperson, as a sculptor of words. The word - my raw material - has its limitations, which I constantly struggle with. And sometimes I am more successful and sometimes I'm less successful. It's as if I were painting a picture - sometimes it looks better and sometimes it looks worse, depending on how I use the brush and the paint. In the sequel to "Dragon Rider," The Griffon's Feather," the main protagonist Ben embarks on a dangerous mission. He wants to rescue the Pegasus from extinction. Do you want to convey a message to your young readers with this story? I'm always very careful with messages, but with this book I have actually gone the furthest in this direction. I believe that the alienation of our children from the natural world is far more dangerous than getting upset about children not reading anymore. Children spend too much time at school. Time to experience the world directly is taken away from them. The world is conveyed to them through adults' filters and what we consider to be important knowledge. Children no longer have time to play outside. They're not left unsupervised anymore. I'm currently in the process of buying 10 hectares (nearly 35 acres) of land in the Santa Monica Mountains to create a wilderness sanctuary – I’ll call it the Rim of Heaven - and I intend to offer workshops up there and bring city children into nature. I'm very concerned that children will be afraid of the natural world one day and will loose their feeling for this world. Then "The Griffin's Feather" is an encouraging book? Yes! I would be very happy if children do something after reading it - if they rescue frogs or want to see an orangutan in its natural habitat. You've said that children should take their dreams very, very seriously and shouldn't believe anyone who tells them that they can't reach them. What is it that you dream of, Ms. Funke? At the moment, I'm dreaming of this piece of land. And of the tree houses and teepees that will be on it, and that I'll have city children there that lose their fear of picking up a lizard. That's my big dream at the moment.

She launched to fame with “Dagon Rider” 19 years ago and just released the sequel. Star kids’ author Cornelia Funke tells DW why words can be challenging and why she’s buying up a huge plot of land. Cornelia Funke cheerfully answers the phone at 9:30 a.m. California time. She had already been to the ocean, written a bit, made a ... Read More »

Harry Potter script achieves record sales

A few days after its release, the book "Harry Potter and the Cursed Child" is already boasting record sales - but it's still far from beating the seventh novel in the fantasy series. It's the eighth story in the famous boy wizard series, but instead of a narrative novel like J.K. Rowling's previous Potter books, it's the script for the play that opened in London on Saturday. The screenplay was published at the stroke of midnight, just after the play's gala evening. In the US and Canada, the book sold more than two million copies in the first two days, an "unprecedented" result for a script, according to publisher Scholastic. It has also sold more than 680,000 copies in Britain since being published on Sunday. "There's no doubt about it; this will be our biggest book of the year," Kate Skipper, buying director at UK bookstore chain Waterstones said in a statement. If the sales rate continued, the script book would "be the second biggest-selling single week for one title since records began, with 'Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows' as the first," said UK book industry magazine "The Bookseller." Harry Potter play sold out through May Written by Rowling, playwright Jack Thorne and director John Tiffany, the two-part play is set 19 years after "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows," the final novel in the original series, released in 2007. The play is sold out through May 2017, but 250,000 additional tickets of the Harry Potter play are due to go on sale on Thursday. Still far behind the success of the final novel Despite its broken records this week, the "Cursed Child" screenplay can't keep up with the novel that preceded it. The seventh book in the Harry Potter series was successful beyond compare: Within 24 hours of being released in 2007, "The Deathly Hallows" sold 8.3 million copies in the US and 2.65 million copies in Britain, according to the publishers for those markets, Scholastic and Bloomsbury, respectively. Globally, the seven Harry Potter novels have sold more than 450 million copies since the first book hit the shelves in 1997. The wizard's adventures have been translated into 79 languages and adapted into eight films.

A few days after its release, the book “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child” is already boasting record sales – but it’s still far from beating the seventh novel in the fantasy series. It’s the eighth story in the famous boy wizard series, but instead of a narrative novel like J.K. Rowling’s previous Potter books, it’s the script for the ... Read More »

Harry Potter heads to the London stage

Five years after the last film, Harry Potter is back - and he's now a father and civil servant in the Ministry of Magic. Preview performances of the next chapter of the successful series begin in London on June 7. Books, films, memorabilia, amusement parks and now, a play: for nearly 20 years, boy wizard Harry Potter has been a global phenomenon and marketing success worth billions. And the brand has also made its creator, British author J.K. Rowling, rich. In 2011, Forbes magazine estimated Rowling's net worth at about $1 billion (900 million euros) - wealthier than Queen Elizabeth II. The first volume in the seven-part series, "Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone," was released in the UK in 1997 with an initial print run of 500. Parts two and three soon followed, and sales began to multiply. The big breakthrough came in 2000 with the publication of the fourth volume, "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire," which set off Potter mania. Rowling's books were the first youth novels to crack the international best-seller lists. Translated into 73 languages, the series has been read all over the world; age limits and cultural boundaries seemingly don't apply. Parallel universe People were - and still are - enchanted by Rowling's parallel universe, the world of magic that exists hidden alongside the Muggle world. Muggle, Rowling's term for a person that doesn't possess magical skills, has meanwhile joined the lexicon. People now use the term to describe any person who lacks a particular skill or is inferior, or uninitiated. In the world of geocaching, where players are sent on a scavenger hunt with geographical coordinates to search for a cache of items, the idea is to make sure the cache remains unobserved by non-geocachers, or muggles. Not over yet After the last volume, "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows," was published in 2007, fans around the world were forced to grudgingly accept that the story had come to an end. The film adaptation hit cinemas with much fanfare in 2010 and 2011, split into two parts - squeezed for every last penny. Harry's archenemy, Lord Voldemort, had been defeated, and the epilogue showed the boy wizard many years later, grown up, married and sending his own son off to the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. And it's here, 19 years after the events in the "Deathly Hallows," that the story will continue. The first preview performance of "Harry Potter and the Cursed Child" will premiere at London's Palace Theatre on June 7, with part two premiering two nights later. To satisfy fans eager for any scrap of information, Rowling's Pottermore website and the play's Twitter feed have already revealed a few details related to the eighth Harry Potter story, including photos of the actors playing the principal roles. These characters are already certain to return: overworked, middle-aged Harry, his wife Ginny and their son, Albus Severus, along with their two other children. Harry's friends Ron and Hermione will also appear, along with their daughter, Rose. Of course, it wouldn't be a Harry Potter story without eternal adversary Draco Malfoy and his son, who apparently has inherited the vile character traits of his father and grandfather. The play will officially open on July 30, with a book version appearing the next day, Harry Potter's birthday. As with its predecessors, the plot remains top secret - standard procedure for the Harry Potter marketing machine.

Five years after the last film, Harry Potter is back – and he’s now a father and civil servant in the Ministry of Magic. Preview performances of the next chapter of the successful series begin in London on June 7. Books, films, memorabilia, amusement parks and now, a play: for nearly 20 years, boy wizard Harry Potter has been a ... Read More »

Günter Grass leaves a last farewell book

Just before he died earlier this year, Nobel Prize-winning author Günter Grass completed his last book, "Vonne Endlichkait." It will be published this week in German. "Günter Grass left us a moving farewell," said his publisher Gerhard Steidl at the presentation of the book "Vonne Endlichkait," to be published in German on Friday (28.08.2015). An English version should be availble in the fall of 2016. The title is in East Prussian dialect and means "About Finitude." Grass explored themes such as aging, loss, and the end of life, adding his own "subtle form of humor" to his reflections, which are at times "hilarious," said Steidl. "The book is a literary experiment," added the publisher. It combines a series of short prose texts, each accompanied by a poem and a pencil drawing by the author. Although it is made up of many short elements, a very clear narrative arc emerges from the work, said the editor, Dieter Stolz. Steidl does not believe any other hidden manuscript from the author will turn up, but a publication of some of his diaries is planned, especially those focusing on his political observations. Günter Grass, who won the Nobel Prize in 1999, is considered one of the most important German authors. Most famous for his 1959 post-war novel "The Tin Drum," he wrote over 70 works translated into 40 languages. Grass died this year on April 13 at the age of 87.

Just before he died earlier this year, Nobel Prize-winning author Günter Grass completed his last book, “Vonne Endlichkait.” It will be published this week in German. “Günter Grass left us a moving farewell,” said his publisher Gerhard Steidl at the presentation of the book “Vonne Endlichkait,” to be published in German on Friday (28.08.2015). An English version should be availble ... Read More »

Peace Prize goes to Islam scholar Navid Kermani

جرمن بک ڈیلرز ایسوسی ایشن کے اس سال کے امن انعام کا حقدار نوید کرمانی کو قرار دیا گیا ہے۔ اس ایسوسی ایشن کے ناظم الامور ہائنرش رائٹ ملّر کے مطابق کرمانی جرمن معاشرے کی ایک اہم ترین آواز ہیں۔ رائٹ ملّر نے مزید کہا کہ اس ایرانی نژاد جرمن ادیب نے مختلف پس منظر اور مذہبی رجحانات کے حامل افراد کے لیے ایک ساتھ مل کر رہنے کو ممکن بنایا ہے۔ نوید کرمانی کو یچیس ہزار یورو کا یہ انعام باقاعدہ طور پر اٹھارہ اکتوبر کو فرینکفرٹ میں دیا جائے گا۔ 47 سالہ کرمانی مضمون نگار، صحافی اور ناول نگار کے علاوہ ڈرامہ نویس بھی ہیں۔

The 2015 Peace Prize of the German Book Trade will be awarded this year to the German writer and expert in Islamic studies Navid Kermani for his contribution to interreligious dialogue. In the announcement made on Thursday (18.06.2015), the foundation underlined Navid Kermani’s strong respect for human dignity and different cultures and religion, and his commitment to creating “an open ... Read More »

Pussy Galore returns in new James Bond novel

The latest James Bond novel, by British author Anthony Horowitz, sees a reunion between 007 and the famous Bond girl from "Goldfinger," Pussy Galore. It is based on never-produced TV material conceived by Ian Fleming. Titled "Trigger Mortis," Anthony Horowitz's Bond book is set to be released in September. It picks up just where the "Goldfinger" novel ends, in 1957. Actress Honor Blackman portrayed what is considered to be the most famous Bond girl of all time - Pussy Galore - in the 1964 film version of "Goldfinger." The mysterious blond makes a comeback in Horowitz's new novel, which is packed full of additional surprises for the wily secret agent. The story takes James Bond into the world of motor racing and includes other familiar characters like M and Miss Moneypenny. Ian Fleming (1908-1964), the original Bond author, wrote several episodes for a Bond television series that never came about. Portions of the screenplays were turned into short stories and are part of the collections "For Your Eyes Only," "Octopussy" and "The Living Daylights." A few of the sketches, however, have never been used and will be adapted in "Trigger Mortis." Anthony Horowitz, 60, is one of the UK's most prolific writers and has said he is a life-long fan of Ian Fleming. He follows writers Sebastian Faulks, Jeffrey Deaver and William Boyd in picking up the Bond adventure tales. Only authors approved by Fleming's estate are permitted to accept the mission. Horowitz has also authored the bestselling teen spy series "Alex Rider," as well as the "Midsommer Murders" and "Foyle's War" television series, and penned Sherlock Holmes novels. Regarding the Bond project, Horowitz said in a statement on Orion Publisher's website: "It's a huge challenge - more difficult even than Sherlock Holmes in some ways - but having original, unpublished material by Fleming has been an inspiration. This is a book I had to write."

The latest James Bond novel, by British author Anthony Horowitz, sees a reunion between 007 and the famous Bond girl from “Goldfinger,” Pussy Galore. It is based on never-produced TV material conceived by Ian Fleming. Titled “Trigger Mortis,” Anthony Horowitz’s Bond book is set to be released in September. It picks up just where the “Goldfinger” novel ends, in 1957. ... Read More »

Scroll To Top