Death In Rome | Granta

  • Published: 20/05/2004
  • ISBN: 9781862075894
  • 129x20mm
  • 224 pages

Death In Rome

Wolfgang Koeppen

Translated by Michael Hofmann

In Rome, four members of a German family are reunited by chance. A young composer, Siegfried; his estranged father, Freidrich, who held office under the Nazis and is once more making his way in public life, this time as a democratically elected burgomeister; Siegfried’s uncle, Judejahn, an unrepentant former SS general; and Judejahn’s renegade son, Adolf, who is preparing himself for the Catholic priesthood. The four men recount their separate experiences in music, bureaucracy, arms and religion – and, taken together, they personify the German soul. Death in Rome is a history book, a family book, a book about the battle over who gets to represent the authentic face of post-war Germany. It is a devastating and brilliant evocation of an entire nation.

The Author

Wolfgang Koeppen was born in 1906 and died ninety years later in Munich. A journalist for left-wing papers in Weimar Berlin, he spent the early Nazi period in the Netherlands, returning in the war years to work for the film company that produced Fritz Lang’s Metropolis. He published five novels, two in the 1930s and three in the 1950s. In 1962 he won the Büchner Prize, Germany’s most prestigious literary award. He is the author of The Hothouse and A Sad Affair, both translated by Michael Hofmann and published by Granta Books. He is now recognized as a giant of European literature.

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The Translator

Michael Hofmann is a poet, translator and critic. His latest book of poems is One Lark, One Horse. He recently translated Jenny Erpenbeck’s novel Kairos.

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