Home > 1920, 2000, 20th Century, 21st Century, Crime Fiction, Fitzek Sebastian, German Literature, Kracauer Siegfried, Non Fiction > German Lit Month: my entry for crime fiction week

German Lit Month: my entry for crime fiction week

November 10, 2011 Leave a comment Go to comments

Die Therapie by Sebastian Fitzek, 2006 – Der Detektiv-Roman by Siegfried Kracauer. 1925

I didn’t know any German crime fiction writer and I had difficulties to choose a book for week two. So I used a basic method: go to a bookshop, browse the crime fiction shelves from A to Z and picking any book whose author had a Germanish name. I only found a novel by Sebastian Fitzek, Die Therapie and a non-fiction book by Siegfried Kracauer, Der Detektiv-Roman (1925). I bought both. A double disaster.

Fitzek is the German Patterson, the book is so bad it doesn’t deserve a review. End of story. The Kracauer’s cover is totally misleading. I expected an essay on the origins of crime fiction. I read the intro, I was fine. First page of first chapter, he was already referring to Kierkegaard. I tried to read further but I didn’t understand a word about what he was saying. I have to admit I’m a total zero when it comes to metaphysics. I’ve never been good at understanding philosophy, especially when it deals with time, metaphysics and theology. End of story. (bis)

That must be the shortest entry I’ve ever written about books. So it goes as Vonnegut would say. That leaves me with lots of questions: how is it possible that I couldn’t find any German crime fiction writer on the shelves when books in translations are so widely sold in France? How is it possible that I didn’t know any author? Why don’t they make it on the French market? Are French readers so put off by Derrick and Tatort that they wouldn’t buy German crime fiction books?

What’s your opinion?

  1. lizzysiddal
    November 10, 2011 at 1:32 am

    🙂 I suspect you and I will be talking more when my review of Therapy goes up on Friday ……


    • November 10, 2011 at 9:46 am

      Yes, I’ll read your review. I’m curious to read what you wrote about this spiraling therapy thing written with subject+verb+object sentences.


  2. November 10, 2011 at 3:03 am

    Emma: I have quite a few German crime writers on my shelf but I can’t speak for France obviously.


    • November 10, 2011 at 9:47 am

      I’ve looked for Arjouni: OOP. I could read in English but then I’d rather read American or British crime fiction.


      • November 10, 2015 at 10:23 pm

        I think that whatever books we get translated for our respective markets are filtered through so many levels. Publishers pick stuff they think will sell and I can’t blame them, but it’s not necessarily (putting it mildly) the best stuff.


        • November 10, 2015 at 10:30 pm

          I think there’s more German lit translated into English than into French. No proof of that, just a hunch.


  3. November 10, 2011 at 7:22 am

    I started it and didn’t get over the first pages. I got another one that seems sligthly better but hasn’t been translated.
    Some of the best German crime writers have not been translated. I have stacks and stacks…
    But I got some nice ones coming today. Translated.


    • November 10, 2011 at 9:50 am

      I’ll read your review.
      This is really strange. France is a big country for translated books. Readers don’t have second thoughts about that and we have a lot of foreign books everywhere. But German crime fiction doesn’t seem to be a success. Arjouni is OOP and so is Ingrid Noll.
      Tant pis!!


      • November 10, 2011 at 8:10 pm

        I don’t know, I would say that in general Germany isn’t a crime country, they are excellent in writing hstorical fiction and fantasy. Apart from Arjouni and Noll there are many solid ones but none that make me, as Guy commented, on my review, go crazy. They are solid but that’s it. I think crime is a wave thing. At present we have a Nordic crime wave and a bit of Italy. Astrid Paprotta is considered very good (no English but a French translation). And there is also Andrea Maria Schenkel that I liked a lot.
        Danielle is reading her and will review it soon. La ferme du crime/The Murder Farm.


        • November 10, 2011 at 8:47 pm

          Sure, you can organize the Swedish crime fiction lit year, we won’t have difficulties finding books.
          I think I’m going to skip German crime fiction and concentrate on other countries. I still have major American writers to discover.

          PS: I love Effi Briest


  4. November 11, 2011 at 7:25 am

    Lizzy has published her review.
    The yera I read Nesbo’s Snow man it made my Top 10 worst books and it made her Top 10 best. Tastes are different, which is lucky for the authors.
    I might read some more German books but I will leave aside the criteria of translated or not as all my very favourite recent authors don’t make it which doesn’t mean they are not good. I alos realized that a novel with a WWII theme is more likely to be translated than one about women in the vein of Arlington Park or someone as acerbic and witty as Birgit Vanderbeke (not crime).


    • November 11, 2011 at 8:28 am

      I guess she really liked it. I’ll read her review.
      I read French books that haven’t been translated too. My blog is also a reading diary; I’m not going to push aside books I want to read because most of the few readers who follow me don’t speak French. (Sorry guys for the upcoming Gary review) Plus you never know; this event makes a buzz; a publisher might stumble upon your review and want to know more…
      I see why I made this remark a few weeks ago when I asked you about books that weren’t about WWII. If the other aren’t translated, it makes the foreign reader think that German writers write about WWII.


  5. November 11, 2011 at 9:50 am

    It’s your comment and two others that made me dig deeper. Julia Franck is a good example. She writes oustanding short stories – not translated, outstanding novels – not translated – writes a WWII novel that is btw not too appreciated in Germany, is translated and everybody is raving about her.
    I could go on. Even the German Pereine title, Delius, is a WWII themed novel. lovely by the way but WWII.
    Or people like Sebald who are not easy att all and he is touching on war always.
    There you go, it’s really quite misleading but to come back to crime… They can do very well but never as good as other countries. But I think the historical fiction is worth trying. Oh… and chlidren’s books. Very good. Cornelia Funke for example.


    • November 11, 2011 at 10:12 am

      That’s too bad. It would be great if books just showed Germany how it is today and not only books turned on the past.
      It reminds me of my German classes. Given my age, we spent our time discussing die Wiedervereinigung (hope the spelling is correct) and Ossies and we totally missed the cultural aspects or everyday life. The worse of it is that it’s only when I watched Good Bye Lenin years after that I realized how violent it had been.


  6. November 10, 2015 at 10:21 pm

    Well thanks for taking a hit for the team…


    • November 10, 2015 at 10:27 pm

      Did this post show up again or did you try the Fitzek too?


  1. November 30, 2011 at 10:13 am
  2. December 1, 2011 at 7:04 am
  3. December 4, 2011 at 12:53 am
  4. November 20, 2015 at 1:22 pm

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