I am keeping up with my reading, I am, I am… Much better than last year, actually. But I don’t update enough.
I finished, and really enjoyed – not sure if ‘enjoy’ is the right word, but whatever – The hothouse by Wolfgang Koeppen, a loan from my friend N. I read Koeppen’s book Death in Rome last year and thought it was superb and vicious. The hothouse is about the Bonn parliament in the fifties – which I am just in the middle of studying – and is sour and angry and despairing. The Bonn parliamentarians are the Christians and Social Democrats who have kept their hands clean during the Nazi period but are now middle-aged cynics, working for a public of self-satisfied, apolitical bourgeois. Short, but very powerful, sad and bitter.
It’s translated by Michael Hofmann, who is such a good translator of German. His translations never jar, the way they can sometimes, and you can hear the German behind the English without it ever becoming intrusive.