Book on the ghosts of Berlin...
nominated for the Klaus-Michael Kühne-Prize 2017 for best fiction debut
U.S. Jury selection for "German Books" 2017
On the surface, present-day Berlin looks like the epitome of the modern metropolis. It is a city of newcomers, investors and partyers in which groups mix but also displace each other. Yet, at the same time, it is a city steeped in history that was at the heart of major historical movements – from the social changes of Germany’s imperial age to the horrors of the “Third Reich” and the upheavals of the Cold War.
In seven episodes that mutually comment on and complete each other, the city’s past catches up with people from the new Berlin. They feel an incredible aftershock, a flickering on the retina that just won’t go away. Some see calamity coming, like the old building superintendent who tries to stop the digging works to install a playground in the back yard. Others try to flee from Berlin’s ghosts, to ignore them or repress them with alcohol. Only one of the protagonists is brave enough to hunt for ghosts in the streets of Berlin at night – chasing after a strange creature that is sabotaging Berlin’s airports.
Truggestalten creates an impressive atmosphere... a clever montage, very convincingly assembled. A most successful fiction debut.
Rudolph Herzog almost classic ghost stories return to Berlin what the city had lost in the years of gentrification, partying and reunification - the forgotten sense of horror, of suffering, and a memory of the people who found themselves on the losing side of history.
Very laconic, very funny, too, sometimes one can't help chuckling, but this is real goose-bump material.
Herzog has a knack for describing social milieus and their inhabitants, making the reader curious as to how they will react to the unforseen.
"Truggestalten" is more than a stirring collection of Berlin stories, it is a fantastic history of Berlin bringing back all the past drama of the city and its inhabitants.
For a long time it was a good custom to take along a book when traveling to a city. For today's Berlin, this would definitely have to be Rudolph Herzog's "Truggestalten".
Herzog makes use of the exact city topography; one's joy in reading doubles when one knows the actual haunted streets and follows the path of his heroes on the map.
Rudolph Herzog has crafted an idiosyncratic and powerfully atmospheric debut.