Release date: 16. February 2012
256 Pages, Hardcover
Euro (D) 18,99 | sFr 26,80 | Euro (A) 19,60
Title: A Small Empire
Wilhelm Raabe Prize 2012
Literature Prize of the Kanton Bern 2012
Recommended for translation by New Books in German
Recommended for translation by Pro Helvetia
A Tale of the German South Seas
In one of the most remote corners of what was once the German Empire at the very time of its grandest ›promises‹ and glory, a rather skinny, bearded, badly dressed, long haired, peculiar vegetarian and pharmacist from Nuremberg took it upon himself to save the world. He traveled through half the world to the colonies in the German South Sea to plant a colony of nudist vegetarians, united in their worship of the sun and most of all: of the coconut.
Much like the German Empire Engelhardt’s utopian revolution has long been diligently wiped from the collective memory to leave only a few blurred images and traces. But what a story has been lost! Thomas Mann, Franz Kafka, Hermann Hesse, Freud, Einstein and Edward C. Halsey, even Jack London crossed his path one way or the other. His life was a tale of murder and envy, of grand ideas and their failure, of adventure and betrayal, decadence and asceticism, and not the least: of self-sacrifice turning into self-cannibalism. Or is it? Was it?
A Small Empire is a masterpiece of false traces and trap doors: It is a mirror cabinet of deceptive leads and misleading allusions, a labyrinth of historic facts, strangely twisted timelines and an unreliable narrator. A Small Empire is an adventure story in the best tradition as it is an unsettling weave of history and metahistorical fiction. It is as entertaining as it is tragic, but in all that it is most of all: a portrait of the folly that was the German Empire reflected in the sincerity of the cocovorian utopist August Engelhardt and of the many utopias this Empire bred in vain among so many Germans hoping for a very different world that was never to come.
Czech Republic: Mladá fronta / Denmark: Rosenkilde & Bahnhof / Hungary: M-érték / Israel: Am Oved / Italy: Neri Pozza / Korea: Moonji / Netherlands: Warenmagazijn / Norway: Pelikanen / Poland: under negotiation / Russia: Ad Marginem / Sweden: Ersatz AB / Spain: Ediciones B (Spanish World Rights) / Turkey: Ayrinti / USA: Farrar, Straus & Giroux (English World Rights) / Vietnam: Nha Nam
Christian Kracht, born in Switzerland in 1966, is a writer of modern German literature. His novels Faserland, 1979, and Ich werde hier sein im Sonnenschein und im Schatten, have been translated into 20 languages.