Translated from the German by Tess Lewis
It is 1989, and a young literature student named Ed, fleeing unspeakable tragedy, travels to the Baltic island of Hiddensee. 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 stumbles upon the Klausner, Hiddensee’s most popular restaurant, and ends up washing dishes there, despite his lack of papers. Although he is keen to remain on the sidelines, Ed feels drawn towards the charismatic Kruso, unofficial leader of the seasonal workers. Everyone dances to Kruso’s tune. He is on a mission — but to what end, and at what cost? Ed finds himself drawn ever deeper into the island’s rituals, and ever more in need of Kruso’s acceptance and affection.
As the wave of history washes over the German Democratic Republic, the friends’ grip on reality loosens and life on the island will never be the same.
About the author
Lutz Seiler was born in 1963 in Gera, Thuringia, and today lives in Wilhelmshorst near Berlin and Stockholm. Since 1997, he has been the literary director and custodian of the Peter Huchel Museum. His many prizes include the Ingeborg Bachmann Prize, the Bremen Prize for Literature, the Fontane Prize, the Uwe Johnson Literary Prize 2014, and the German Book Prize 2014.
Kruso, Lutz Seiler’s first novel, tells the story of two men, Edgar Bendler and Alexander Krusowitsch, who want to escape the world at the turn of 1989 on Hiddensee, an island in the Baltic Sea. The novel follows the traces of the people who disappeared by fleeing across the Baltic Sea. Lutz Seiler is a well known German poet and his novel Kruso won the German Book Prize 2014
The German book prize winner 2014 is an enigmatic Bildungsroman, adapting the literary trope of the island refuge to the dying days of East German socialism. Lutz Siler has brought all his art, linguistic ease, flair for dazzling images and master of what he describes as ‘the nervous systems of memory’ to this extraordinary debut novel.
In his debut novel German author Lutz Seiler tells a story set before the historical background of the last months of the German Democratic Republic. He writes in lyrical and sensual language about the life of people fleeing and finding themselves on the Baltic Island of Hiddensee in the summer of 1989, about a difficult friendship (Edgar and Kruso ) and Kruso’s idea of Utopia in a place outside time. German Book Prize winner 2014