A Sad Affair by Wolfgang G. Koeppen
A Novel

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Synopsis

A romantic roman à clef that tells the story of Sibylle, one of the greatest literary femmes fatales since Salomé.

Banned by the Nazis in 1936 for its frank sexual themes, Wolfgang Koeppen's first novel is at last appearing in English. A romance that anticipated Beat literature by nearly twenty years through its dizzying language and exploration of casual love, this is Koeppen's most hilarious work, one that evokes Mann's Tonio Kruger. Set during the heady, pre-World War II days of cabaret-era Germany, the novel centers around Sibylle—a stunning seductress who balances her love affairs with five men at once—and Friedrich, the callow, melancholic youth who obsessively pursues her.

In a stranger-than-fiction turn, Sibylle Scholoss, on whom the character of Sibylle is (very) loosely based, is now in her nineties and living in Manhattan. This publication enables us to celebrate not only the extraordinary renaissance of one of Germany's greatest twentieth-century writers but also the meteoric stage career of a German actress whose career was thwarted in its prime.
 

About Wolfgang G. Koeppen

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Wolfgang Koeppen's (1906-1996) The Hothouse was named one of the Los Angeles Times Best Books of the Year and a New York Times Notable Book. For his translations, acclaimed poet Michael Hofmann has won the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize, the Dublin International IMPAC Award, the PEN/Book-of-the-Month Club Prize, the Helen and Kurt Wolff Translator’s Prize, the Oxford-Weidenfeld Translation Prize, and The Schlegel-Tieck Prize (four times). He is the highly acclaimed translator of, among others, Kafka, Brecht, and Joseph Roth.
 
Published July 1, 2003 by W. W. Norton & Company. 176 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for A Sad Affair

Kirkus Reviews

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Nothing had changed.” This potentially hermetic and conventional tale is instead a work of extraordinary freshness: Koeppen’s brisk prose (beautifully translated here) renders operatic emotion with urbane precision (Sibylle’s lovers “craved to lie at the foot of her bed like dogs,” etc.), and he ...

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Publishers Weekly

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Friederich thinks a trip to Tuscany will help his lady love focus on him, but their muddled relationship finally ends in a sequence in which the tortured, angst-ridden Friederich gives Sybille a gun and begs her to put him out of his emotional misery.

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