Simple Stories by Ingo Schulze

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Prize-winning German writer Ingo Schulze's first novel, Simple Stories, is a marvel of storytelling and craft. Set in the East German town of Altenburg after the fall of the Berlin Wall, it deftly leaps among an array of confused characters caught in the crossroads of their country’s history: a lovelorn waitress who falls for a visiting West German investor; an art historian turned traveling salesman; a former Communist official plagued by his past; an unsuccessful writer who asks his neighbor to break his leg so that he can continue to live on welfare.
Schulze skillfully intercuts an assortment of moving and comic vignettes about seemingly unconnected people, gradually linking them into an exhilarating whole of tidal unity and emotional force, until we see that all the time we have been reading a novel in glittering fragments, spun by a master. With a piercing eye for detail and a magical ear for dialogue, Schulze portrays the tragi-comedy of ordinary people caught up in the last great historical upheaval of the century.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

About Ingo Schulze

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Schulze studied classical philology at the University of Jena. His first book won both the prestigious Doblin Prize and the Willner Prize for literature. John E. Woods won both the 1981 American Book Award and PEN award for his translation of Schmidt's "Evening Edged in Gold" and has published a new translation of Thomas Mann's "Buddenbrooks".
Published December 18, 2007 by Vintage. 306 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Simple Stories

Publishers Weekly

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Then Martin's wife, Andrea, forced to learn to ride a bicycle after Martin has a run of bad luck, is found one day by the side of the road with her neck broken, apparently the victim of a hit-and-run driver.

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AV Club

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He frequently brings back key characters in later chapters as a means of clarifying earlier events: The psychiatrist met in chapter five, for example, turns out to have been responsible for the death of the wife of the unemployed art historian met in chapter four—though Schulze doesn't reveal tha...

Mar 29 2002 | Read Full Review of Simple Stories

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