Wolfgang Koeppen is the most important German novelist of the past seventy years: a radical, not to say terrifying stylist; a caustic, jet-black comedian; a bitter prophet. His late autobiographical work—the short, intense autofiction Youth, translated here for the first time—is a portrait of the little north German town of Greifswald before World War I. It is a miracle of compression, a kind of personal apocalypse. Also included is one of Koeppen’s last works: a short, fragmentary text depicting Koeppen’s return to the town of his schooldays.
“It is hard to think of a German writer of his generation who has written more sensitively or more profoundly about the Holocaust and its effects than Wolfgang Koeppen.” — Ruth Franklin, New Republic
Wolfgang Koeppen (1906–1996) is the author of A Sad Affair, Pigeons on the Grass, Death in Rome, The Hothouse, and Journey through America, all of which are available in English translation. He is widely considered the most influential postwar German novelist of his generation.
Michael Hofmann is an award-winning poet, critic, and translator. Among his translations are works by Thomas Bernhard, Franz Kafka, Wolfgang Koeppen, Joseph Roth, and his father, Gert Hofmann.