© Ken Kubota
Edgar Hilsenrath, born in Leipzig, Germany in 1926, is a survivor of the Jewish holocaust. Having been deported to the Ukraine and sent to a concentration camp, he went to Palestine on one of the first refugee trains. He subsequently lived in France and the United States and now lives in Germany. Hilsenrath's books were initially underground classics, later becoming bestsellers in Europe. His work has been translated in almost thirty countries and he has been recognized through the most distinguished literary awards, like the Lion Feuchtwanger Prize and the city of Heidelberg’s Hilde Domin Prize for Literature in Exile 2016. His books have been published in over 30 countries.
Hilsenrath became internationally known with his novel Der Nazi und der Friseur (“The Nazi and the Barber”) which tells the story of a member of the SS and mass murderer who slips into the role of his victim Itzig Finkelstein and becomes a respected citizen and owner of a barbershop in Tel Aviv. There is hardly a comparable book which so masterly exposes the banality of fascism and the scantiness of the people involved who become victims of their own sad ridiculousness.
Edgar Hilsenrath succeeds in doing the seemingly impossible - he writes a satire about Jews and the SS. A masterly game of vexation about guilt and atonement.
Alternately funny, tragic and horrifying, and ultimately very moving.
A shocking confessional and a fascinating document of contemporary history, Fuck America is Hilsenrath's retaliation of 1950s America. His antihero, the semi-fictitious and semi-autobiographic Jewish immigrant Jakob Bronsky, experiences the land of opportunity from the perspective of a trampIn this unique novel, poetic elements, blunt realism, obscenity and wicked humour come together in a deeply moving collage.
With his humour and his literature, Hilsenrath managed to save himself. In Fuck Amerika, he recreates with sarcasm his emigration and his experiences in the New York of the fifties.
The most surprising and corrosive novel ever by a German author.
In Das Märchen vom letzten Gedanken ("The Story of the Last Thought"), an epos about the 1915 Armenian genocide in Turkey, Hilsenrath tells this crime as a lament for the victims of all genocides. This sad story reads like an Oriental fairy-tale and is a great and necessary contribution of the 100-year-commemoration of the Armenian Massacres.
It is a truly great novel. A piece of work that belongs to a range of works which don’t appear very often, it is a story of the highest class.
Like several of today’s powerful writers, Edgar Hilsenrath was a child of the Nazi cataclism, whose literary view of life has been profoundly affected by his experience.
In the tale of Jossel Wassermanns Heimkehr, the protagonist recalls his home and his compatriots in Bukovina as the spectre of World War II looms, Edgar Hilsenrath pays tribute to the destroyed Jewish culture of Eastern Europe.
Please find further information about “The Story of the Last Thought” at the following site:
Many critics have compared Hilsenrath to Günter Grass. That is flattering but unnecessary and incorrect. The individuality of Hilsenrath’s thought and sentiment, his artistic use of language, make him a great writer cast in a mold entirely his own.
In his work, Hilsenrath visualizes two ways to escape horror and death: humour and sex.
For further information please visit the author’s website:
Hilsenrath’s complete work is published by Eule der Minerva Verlag, Berlin.
France: Attila 2012, pb Seuil 2014 ● Italy: Voland ● Netherlands: Boekerij N.V. 1966/ Uitgeverij Ijzer 2008 ● Norway: Aschehoug ● Poland: Wyd.Literackie 1994 (avail.) ● Serbia & Montenegro: August Cesarek 1982 (avail.) ● Sweden: Alba 1981 (avail.) ● UK: W.H. Allan 1967 (avail.) ● USA: Doubleday 1966, Manor Books 1974 ● Yugoslavia: Zaloszba Obzorja 1983 (avail.)
Der Nazi und der Friseur, 1977
Albania: Dudaj 2015 ● Argentina: Sudamericana 2002 (avail.) ● Brazil: Gryphus 2013 ● Bulgaria: Colibri 2012 ● China: Yilin 2011 (avail.) ● Czech Republic: Nakladatelství Hynek 1997 ● Denmark: Schonberg Forl. 1980 (avail.) ● Estonia: Tänapäev 2010 ● France: Fayard 1974, Attila 2010, pb Seuil ● Hungary: Hatter Kiado 1998 ● Israel: Ofir 1994, Kinneret 2011 ● Italy: Mondadori 1973, Marcos y Marcos 2006 (avail.) ● Japan: Bungeisha 2014 ● Korea: Open Books 2012 ● Lithuania: Lithuanian Writers' Union Publishers 2013 ● Netherlands: De Kern 1978, Ambo Anthos 2008, 2011, pb 2013, 2018, Dwarsligger 2012, 2017 ● Norway: Det Norske Samlaget 1987 (avail.) ● Poland: Wydawnictwo Literackie 1994, 2011 ● Slovakia: Slovart 2011 ● Slovenia: Maribor 1981 (avail.) ● Spain: Maeva 2004 (avail.) ● Sweden: Alba 1979, Thoren & Lindskog ● Turkey: Ithaki 2007 ● UK: W.H. Allan 1975, Guhl 1978, Scribners 1990 (avail.) ● USA: Doubleday 1972, Manor Books 1974 ● Yugoslavia: Maribor 1981
Moskauer Orgasmus (Gib acht, Genosse Mandelbaum), 1979
France: Attila 2013, pb 2017 ● Italy: Voland ● Latvia: Vaga Ltd. 1994 ● Lithuania: Lietus 1994
Fuck America (Bronskys Geständnis), 1980
Brazil: Gryphus ● Czech Republic: Albatros 2011 ● France: Attila 2009, pb Seuil 2010, pb Le Tripode 2017 ● Italy: Baldini Castoldi Dalai 2010 ● Netherlands: Ambo Anthos 2013 ● Poland: Wydawnictwo Literackie 2018 ● Serbia & Montenegro: August Cesarek 1988 ● Spain: Errata Naturae 2010 ● Turkey: Yapi Kredi 2012 ● Yugoslavia: August Cesarek 1981, 1988
Zibulsky oder Antenne im Bauch, 1983
Sie trommelten mit den Fäusten den Takt, 1983
Das Märchen vom letzten Gedanken, 1989
Armenia: Nairi Verlag 1993 (avail.) ● Czech Republic: Host 2005 ● France: Albin Michel 1992, pb Livre de Poche 2007, Le Tripode 2015 ● Greece: Exandas 1992 (avail.) ● Italy: Rizzoli 1991, Marcos y Marcos 2006 (avail.) ● Lithuania: Leidykla Amzius 1995 (avail.) ● Netherlands: Amber-De Boekerig 1991, Ambo/Anthos 2010 ● Poland: Ksiaznica Sp./ S. Fischer Stiftung 2005 ● Romania: Ararat 2007 ● Russia: Text 2000, 2005 ●Turkey: Gökkusagi Basin Yayin 1999 (avail.) ● UK: Scribners 1990, pb Abacus 1994 (avail.)
Jossel Wassermanns Heimkehr, 1993
France: Albin Michel 1995, pb Livre de Poche 2008, Attila ● Italy: Marsilio 1995, Baldini Castoldi Dalai ● Netherlands: Bodoni/De Kern 1995, Ambo/Anthos 2009
Die Abenteuer des Ruben Jablonski, 1997
France: Le Tripode 2017 ● Netherlands: Ambo/Anthos 2015 ● Sweden: Thoren & Linskog 2013
Berlin… Endstation, 2006