Last week, in his A Week in Books column Boyd Tonkin discussed German literature. Thankfully, instead of saying something pointless about "Günter Grass's teenage fling with the Waffen SS", Tonkin did a brief, but useful, overview of recent German books and brought to my attention a few names that might deserve a closer look: Michael Krüger ("distinguished as a versatile writer and equally so as a publisher with Hanser Verlag in Munich"); Daniel Kehlmann who, though favourite, failed to win the German Book Prize with Measuring the World, "his vastly successful novel about the explorer Humboldt and the mathematician Gauss (which we will see [in English translation] from Quercus Books next year)"; Bulgarian-born Ilija Trojanow (whose The World Collector is "a sweepingly ambitious novel about the Victorian adventurer, Orientalist and pornographer Sir Richard Burton" -- "sweepingly ambitious" leaves me cold, but hey ho); Ingo Schulze; Feridun Zaimoglu ("one of an increasingly influential group of Turkish-origin German writers"); and Martin Walser (who shares, with Grass, "roots in the "Gruppe 47" set of post-war firebrands"): "Now Walser is back with Angstblüte, (almost, but not quite, "The Bloom of Doom"), a tale of sex, speculation and starlets among the brutal bourgeoisie of contemporary Munich. Think Roth (or maybe even Bellow) by the Bodensee."

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