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Beschreibung des Verlags
“The kind of writing that makes us want to read the whole book as soon as possible; a shot of adrenaline that immediately takes us to a new world.”—David Varno, Words Without Borders
Journalist Daniel Mandelkern leaves Hamburg on assignment to interview Dirk Svensson, a reclusive children's book author who lives alone on the Italian side of Lake Lugano with his three-legged dog. Mandelkern has been quarreling with his wife (who is also his editor); he suspects she has other reasons for sending him away.After stumbling on a manuscript of Svensson's about a complicated ménage a trois, Mandelkern is plunged into mysteries past and present. Rich with anthropological and literary allusion, this prize-winning debut set in Europe, Brazil, and New York, tells the parallel stories of two writers struggling with the burden of the past and the uncertainties of the future. Funeral for a Dog won the prestigious Uwe-Johnson Prize, and critics raved: "Pletzinger's debut is a real smash hit. It's been a long time since a young German writer has thrown himself into the hurly-burly of life and literature with so much intelligence and bravado" (Wolfgang Hobel, Der Spiegel).
When we first meet Daniel Mandelkern, an ethnologist moonlighting as a journalist for his newspaper editor wife, it's through a series of postcards that the reader will spend the rest of this vibrant, intricate novel untangling. Dispatched to profile children's book author Dirk Svensson, who reportedly lives with his three-legged dog near Milan, Mandelkern is nonplussed with his assignment but anxious to escape his wife. What unfolds, through flashbacks, Mandelkern's observations, and excerpts from Svensson's unpublished memoir, is a complex story about how people deal with love and loss though it doesn't hurt to remember what Svensson's old friend and lover, says: "stories are one third truth, one third fiction and one third the attempt to glue the other two with words." Pletzinger does an admirable job of revealing intriguing characters without being heavy-handed or coy, and the story he tells is smart and well paced, no small feat considering the large scope and the messiness of the lives chronicled. It's a smart and rewarding debut marked by accomplished writing, a slick translation, and intelligent takes on the absurdities of contemporary life.