Kruso, Lutz Seiler
By Lutz Seiler
Scribe Publications, UK 2017, Scribe US June 2018
The lyrical, bestselling 2014 German Book Prize winner
In the summer of 1989, a young literature student named Ed travels to the Baltic island of Hiddensee, fleeing unspeakable tragedy. Long shrouded in myth, the island is a notorious destination for hippies, idealists, and those at odds with the East German state.
On the island, Ed finds work at the Klausner inn, despite his lack of papers. Although keen to remain on the sidelines, Ed is drawn towards Kruso, a charismatic but cryptic character, haunted by his own tragedy. K.ruso is on a mission to help the countless runaways trying to reach the West. What's more, he is on an ideological quest to unite them in the pursuit of freedom and free love.
Everyone dances to Kruso's tune--but to what end and at what cost?
Seiler's debut novel catapults him into the leading ranks of German authors. Die Zeit
Praise for KRUSO
Kruso is a novel steeped in locality – there are numerous references to the Naturalist playwright Gerhart Hauptmann, who holidayed on Hiddensee and was buried on the island – but an important work, too, in its chronicling of the final days of communism in East Germany. Tess Lewis’s excellent translation is runner-up for the Schlegel-Tieck. TLS
'German poet Lutz Seiler has brought all his art, linguistic ease, flair for dazzling images and mastery of what he describes as "the nervous systems of memory" to this extraordinary debut novel about a young man in free fall during the closing months of the old GDR. . . . Memory becomes a thematic refrain that is brilliantly sustained. The award-winning American translator, Tess Lewis, conveys the essential strangeness of the laconic, at times fantastical narrative...' Eileen Battersby, The Irish Times
"An outstanding debut novel by Lutz Seiler ... Beautifully phrased and paced, Tess Lewis's translation delights on every page as she conveys 'the contagious sense of liberation' that blows through Mr. Seiler's mesmeric novel." The Economist
"...a slippery and enigmatic Bildungsroman, adapting the literary trope of the island refuge to the dying days of East German socialism. ... English readers can delight in this prizewinning translation from Tess Lewis, which renders Seiler's vision in prose of startling clarity." The Saturday Age
"Kruso is ultimately an honest meditation on grief, the ways in which people lose, find , lose (and so the cycle continues) each other, rendered beautifully by Seiler's vivid, unusual prose." The Culture Trip