'I was just a regular idiot, a nutcase, a show-off and all that. Nothing to cry about. Seriously'
Edgar W., teenage dropout, unrequited lover, unrecognized genius - and dead - tells the story of his brief, spectacular life.
It is the story of how he rebels against the petty rules of communist East Germany to live in an abandoned summer house, with just a tape recorder and a battered copy of Goethe's The Sorrows of Young Werther for company. Of his passionate love for the dark-eyed, unattainable kindergarten teacher Charlie. And of how, in a series of calamitous events (involving electricity and a spray paint machine), he meets his untimely end.
Absurd, funny and touching, this cult German bestseller, now in a new translation, is both a satire on life in the GDR and a hymn to youthful freedom.
Ulrich Plenzdorf was born in Berlin in 1934, and studied Philosophy and Film in Leipzig. In the early 1970s, he achieved fame with the much acclaimed The New Sorrows of Young W., considered a modern classic of German literature and taught in classrooms across Germany. From 2004 onwards, Plenzdorf was a guest lecturer at the German Institute of Literature in Leipzig. An award-winning and much celebrated author and dramatist, he died in 2007.
Publisher: Pushkin Press
Number of pages: 144
Weight: 136 g
Dimensions: 165 x 120 x 15 mm
Immensely exciting Die Tat (Zurich) [A story of] epic force and human intensity... never overly sentimental Welt An innovative novel Publishers Weekly [Plenzdorf is] an agile and smart writer... a real expert... The New Sorrows of Young W. belongs to those books... that are important literary documents of their time, because they for the first time articulate something... which has hitherto either not been seen clearly, or not been seen at all -- Marcel Reich-Ranicki Die Zeit Young W.'s death appears to announce the birth of an eminent new talent, and maybe even the long-awaited beginning of a new kind of literature Suddeutsche Zeitung The effectiveness of this novel... is explained by Plenzdorf's skill in presenting this young human being, with his honesty and direktness, and simultaneously his helplessness... and to express the problems of this eighteen-year-old in the language of an eighteen-year-old... supremely interesting Die Tat (Frankfurt) Hip-sardonic... a mocking parody of Goethe's romantic epic Time Reaches beyond the borders of East Germany, allowing young people... who live under other political and social conditions to recognise themselves in the protagonist, the rebellious young W. in love... Plenzdorf has done his country's literature an immeasurable service Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung Spirited, rebellious Spiegel Edgar's voice is reminiscent of Holden Caulfield's, full of naivete and and youthful arrogance, thoughtful and self-aware... a touching and tragic coming-of-age tale that utilizes other pieces of art to examine life in East Germany Publishers Weekly