I adore Walter Moers' Zamonien books. The *13 1/2 Lives on Captain Bluebear* is the most well known and popular, but its more episodic rather than having a singular plot, which isn't my cup of tea. My favorite of his is actually *The City of Dreaming Books* because of the crazy adventure beneath the city filled with bizarre creatures and monsters. The book also serves as Moers' own love letter to literature and reading. *Ensel und Krete* is also a quick read that wonderfully parodies Hansel and Gretel. The world he has built is just amazing, and the way he uses language is so unique, inventive, and clever. I have only read his books in German, so unfortunately, I do not know how well they have been translated to English, but if you want fantasy of a different kind, then he is a great author to read.
Nobody mentioned Hermann Hesse yet? While the Steppenwolf is probably his most famous book, my favourite one is Siddhartha.
Other authors I love who write in German but aren't German are Robert Musil (The confusions of young Torless, The man without qualities) and Friedrich Dürrenmatt (The visit, The execution of justice).
*All Quiet on the Western Front* is amazing. I think it's the first war book that I've read from the perspective of a soldier, and it's incredibly brutal, confronting, and moving. It's one of the best books I've ever read, and I think everyone should read it.
Poetry wise, I really enjoy Heinrich Heine.
I also really like Michael Ende's **Momo**. I'm planning to read **The Neverending Story** soon.
Thomas Mann - Death in Venice.
Actually, there are a bunch of other even more lauded Thomas Mann books that I've been meaning to read for a while now, like The Magic Mountain.
Maybe I will finally read *that* this month!
Well, literature-adjacent, but Brecht's Dreigroschenoper and, of course, Goethe's Faust are a couple of my favorite German works.
*The Perfume* by Patrick Sueskind, is a great book about a serial killer with an extraordinary sense of smell who murders girls in order to make perfume from them.
*Michael Ende* always comes to mind when thinking about german authors. I'm german and I grew up with his storys. Storys like 'Die unendliche Geschichte' 'Jim Knopf und Lukas der Lokomotivführer'. There is even a puppet theater in my home town who played 'Jim Knopf und Lukas der Lokomotivführer'. Was one of my favorite storys, and still is.
The Clown, by Heinrich Böll, is probably my favorite German novel. It's an interesting exploration of Germany's social climate post WWII, as seen through the eyes of a Holden Caulfield-esque narrator (thankfully with a bit less teen angst).
I'm in love with Marc-Uwe Kling's Kangaroo-Books. They describe the life of a comedian and a communist kangaroo who live together in a flat in Berlin. There are three books (the audiobooks are even better), all only in German, but there's a kind of "highlights reel" that's been translated into English. I definitely recommend it.
) is one of the lesser known\* typical German authors who captured the country and people very well. All for Nothing came out two years ago in an English translation and the tenth anniversary of his death is in a few weeks. I can highly recommend to check him out.
) is another author I can recommend, he has normal books too, don't treat Bottom's Dream(? Zettels Traum) as his only work. I am not sure how translatable his work is though.
\* at least it seems to me like this
Franz Kafka wasn't techinically German, but he wrote *in* German, so I guess it kinda counts.
More recently, *Der Turm* (*The Tower*) by Uwe Tellkamp. And since no-one has mentioned Stefan Zweig yet, I guess I will - he's increasingly relevant now as a reminder of a time just 80 years ago when Europe was a continent that you fled *from*.
Look who's back [OT: Er ist wieder da] by Timur Vernes (2012)
is a great thought experiment, in which Adolf Hilter reappears in Berlin 2012 and struggles with past, present and future of himself and Germany. You will catch yourself agreeing on some points made in the book and laugh at things which should not really be funny at this point anymore.
Attempt on Translated Synopsis:
>Summer 2011. Adolf Hitler awakens on an empty site in Berlin-Mitte. No war, no party, no Eva Braun. Stuck with peace, thousands of foreigners and Angela Merkel. 66 Years after his supposed suicide he finds himself in past Germany and starts, against any possibility a new career - in TV. This hitler is no joke and therefore shockingly real. And the country, in which he appears is too: cynical, unrestrained, obsessed with success and without a chance against the rabble-rouser (Hitler) and the addiction of quotas, clicks and likes.
Parody? Satire? Political Comedy? Everything and more.
There is also an interesting movie adaption, though I don't know if there is an english version available, I've watched the german dubbed one on UK-Netflix
E:/ edited goodreads link and added synopsis
This is a great thread. I'm currently learning German and I wasn't sure what books to read. Now I have great suggestions. Thanks :D
I have loved every WG Sebald book I've ever read - strange, glacial, ambiguous beauty on every page.
I love the novels of Gunther Grass, dealing with the post-Nazi culture with bizarre characters and psychological insight.
The Neverending Story, baby!
I am a big fan of Judith Hermann. Her short stories have some intonation which makes me feel the time. Her female characters are so strong and stories so simple.
He's little read now, but I'm going to put in a word for Hans Hellmut Kirst, many of whose books were published in English in the 60s and 70s.
**Night of the Generals** is probably his best known book (there was a film), and it's really effective and quite chilling.