Star 111 (Paperback)

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Star 111 By Lutz Seiler, Tess Lewis (Translated by) Cover Image
By Lutz Seiler, Tess Lewis (Translated by)
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A panoramic and picaresque novel of the first years after the fall of the Berlin Wall is told through the experiences of a young man making his way in a time of constant change.

A bestseller in Germany and winner of the prestigous Leipzig Prize.

Star 111 (the name of a popular East German transistor radio) begins with the world turned upside down. It is the fall of 1989. The communist government of the GDR is losing its grip on power. Carl Bischoff, a very young man, trained as a bricklayer, now a college student, is abruptly recalled by his parents to the small town in the middle of nowhere where he grew up. His hardworking unprotesting parents inform him, that with the border open, they intend to leave the country and check into a West German refugee camp. Will Carl to look after the house and take in the mail? They promise at some point to be in touch.

Deserted by his parents, Carl has no idea what to do. Then he packs the family car and heads to Berlin, where he joins a group of squatters led by a shepherd with a goat. Carl participates in the anarchic life of an anarchist commune, and keeps his distance too. He has all sorts of things to learn about himself and others. He is hungry for sex and love and sometimes simply hungry. He worries about his parents. He wants to be a poet.  

Star 111 is a story about unforeseen ends and new beginnings, about different kinds of families, biological and improvised, and one innocent young aspiring poet in pursuit of experience at a moment in history when everything is about to change and nobody knows how. A tender, entrancing, and comic tale of youth and adventure, it is a book that looks back on the history of our time to ask the most fundamental of question: what does it mean to lead a good life?

About the Author

Lutz Seiler is a German poet, novelist, and essayist. He was born in Gera in the German state of Thuringia and first developed an interest in literature while completing his national service in the East German army. He has been awarded the 2023 George Büchner Prize, the 2014 German Book Prize for his debut novel Kruso, and the 2020 Leipzig Book Fair Prize for Star 111.

Tess Lewis is a translator from French and German. Her translations include works by Peter Handke, Philippe Jaccottet, and Christine Angot, and a collection of essays by Walter Benjamin for NYRB Classics. She is a 2015 Guggenheim Fellow and a 2022 Berlin Prize Fellow at the American Academy in Berlin.

Praise For…

"A rich, vivid tale about new beginnings and fractured utopias." —Ángel Gurría-Quintana, Financial Times "A Best Book of 2023, Fiction in Translation (UK Edition)

The fragmentary style of Star 111 recalls much of the later work of Grass [...] The great ingenuity of Seiler’s narrative lies in the displacement that it effects between Carl’s exploits and those of his distant parents, from whom he receives regular letters written in a floridly formal style." —Stuart Walton, The Hong Kong Review of Books

The author’s shimmering, ironic and musical prose—impeccably translated by Tess Lewis—captures a moment both archaic and profoundly real. Utopian and matter-of-fact, it is both timeless and obsessed with the minutiae of its time." —Karen Leeder, Times Literary Supplement

"There aren’t many books that can be cited as the missing link between Uwe Johnson’s Anniversaries and Roberto Bolaño’s The Savage Detectives, and still fewer that could live up to the comparison, but Lutz Seiler (with impeccable assistance from Tess Lewis) makes it look easy. Star 111 is a brilliant, immersive, sometimes funny, slyly moving book with a main character who walks through the new reality he finds himself in like an astronaut exploring alone beneath a strange, harsh, beautiful sun. A stellar achievement."  —Will Ashon

Product Details
ISBN: 9781681378534
ISBN-10: 1681378531
Publisher: New York Review Books
Publication Date: September 17th, 2024
Pages: 496
Language: English