Knausgaard meets East Germany in a brilliantly ironic memoir-cum-novel
Uncle J was a forceps delivery, which explains why he is not really all there. Still a child in many ways, he has grown older all the same. Now he is madly in love, with a Volkswagen Type 3 Variant.
He is a man with no sense of history and little attachment to the real world, other than an armchair enthusiasm for mountain climbing, a passion for Wehrmacht tanks, and a keen interest in Frankfurt’s prostitutes. Uncle J is a person to whom the concept of guilt just does not apply. He doesn’t grasp at life’s chances, because he can’t. Meanwhile, the world around him seems mysteriously and unerringly busy. But to what end?
The Room is a dazzling fictional meditation on Andreas Maier’s family, the cruel absurdities of small-town life, and the euphoria that surrounded ‘progress’ in the 1960s. It is also a stirring exploration of Germany in the post-war years, a reflection on time and civilisation, and on human dignity and how it can be preserved.
Andreas Maier was born near Frankfurt in 1967. In addition to winning the Ernst Willner Prize at the Ingeborg Bachmann Literary Competition in 2000, he received the Jürgen Ponto Foundation’s Literary Support Prize and the Aspekte Literary Prize for his first novel Wäldchestag.
‘As diabolical and sublime as one can imagine a writer to be’ Journal Frankfurt
‘Anyone interested in literature … knows that Andreas Maier is one of the most remarkable German language authors’ Wiener Zeitung
‘A masterpiece of keen observation and the small miracle’ Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung