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Next World Novella [Kindle Edition]

Matthias Politycki
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)

Print List Price: £10.00
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Book Description

Germany’s master of wit and irony now for the first time in English.

Hinrich takes his existence at face value. His wife, on the other hand, has always been more interested in the after-life. Or so it seemed. When she dies of a stroke, Hinrich goes through her papers, only to discover a totally different perspective on their marriage. Thus commences a dazzling intellectual game of shifting realities.

Why Peirene chose to publish this book: ‘This novella deals with the weighty subjects of marriage and death in an impressively light manner. Shifting realities evolve with a beautiful sense of irony and wit. It is a tone that allows us to reflect – without judgment – on misunderstandings, contradictory perceptions and the transience of life.’ Meike Ziervogel

‘Inventive and deeply affecting, this remarkable fiction lingers in the mind long after the last page has been turned.’ CJ Schuler, Independent

‘A heartbreaking tale of loss.’ Nicholas Lezard, Guardian

‘This is a tale of a marriage gone awry and the potential loneliness of cohabitation ... but Matthias Politycki leavens his grim tale with playful teasing of his reader's expectations.’ Rebecca K. Morrison, Times Literary Supplement

‘A teasing, testing story that makes you want to revisit and seek out those fascinating fragments you might just have missed.’ Pam Norfolk, Lancashire Evening Post

‘Elegantly realised.’ Lucy Popescu, Independent on Sunday

‘A page-turning pleasure . . . this novella has a supreme lightness of touch . . It never feels weighed down by its own significance.’ Rosie Goldsmith, BBC

LONGLISTED FOR THE INDEPENDENT FOREIGN FICTION PRIZE 2012
INDEPENDENT BOOKS OF THE YEAR 2011
GUARDIAN PAPERBACKS OF THE YEAR 2011

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Review

"Inventive and deeply affecting, this remarkable fiction lingers in the mind long after the last page has been turned." --The Independent

"This is a tale of a marriage gone awry and the potential loneliness of cohabitation ... but Matthias Politycki leavens his grim tale with playful teasing of his reader's expectations." --Times Literary Supplement

"A teasing, testing story that makes you want to revisit and seek out those fascinating fragments you might just have missed." --Lancashire Evening Post

"In this elegantly realised novella, Politycki dissects a failed marriage with acute psychological insight and reminds us of how swiftly a breakdown in communication can make our own and others' existence unfathomable."
--The Independent on Sunday

Review

"Inventive and deeply affecting, this remarkable fiction lingers in the mind long after the last page has been turned." The Independent "This is a tale of a marriage gone awry and the potential loneliness of cohabitation ... but Matthias Politycki leavens his grim tale with playful teasing of his reader's expectations." TLS "A teasing, testing story that makes you want to revisit and seek out those fascinating fragments you might just have missed." Lancashire Evening Post "In this elegantly realised novella, Politycki dissects a failed marriage with acute psychological insight and reminds us of how swiftly a breakdown in communication can make our own and others' existence unfathomable." The Independent on Sunday Politycki's ambitious novella shows there is still life in this classic genre. World Literature Today "A page-turning pleasure... this novella has a supreme lightness of touch... It never feels weighed down by its own significance." Rosie Goldsmith, BBC An adventure in the shadow land of self encounter from which it is difficult to re-emerge. Welt am Sonntag

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 368 KB
  • Print Length: 138 pages
  • Publisher: Peirene Press (1 Nov. 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0079IU21I
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #288,902 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A stunning novella 27 Feb. 2011
By Freckles VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback
Hinrich Schepp has never wanted to be the centre of attention. Qualified to be a university lecturer and professor in his field of Ancient Chinese Language, he is content to be a research fellow. He is proud to have won the heart of the remarkable Dorothee Wilhelmine Renate, Countess von Hagelstein whilst at university. She, in turn, surrenders her career to become the plain Frau Schepp, devoted wife and mother. Yes, he is content, even more so, when his poor eyesight, which has plagued him all his life, is restored by laser surgery and the world takes on a new meaning for him. What was once a cloudy blur, is now bright and crystal clear.

Unfortunately, what Schepp can now see on waking this morning is his dead wife hunched over the desk where he left her editing his work the night before. True, he had often discovered her asleep in this position and shaken his head at her devotion, but there is a strange smell in the room today which he can't quite place, and now it's source is horrifyingly obvious. As he seems relucant to let her go, Schepp reflects on how they had talked often about the after life...the next world... and Doro's dread of the huge black lake she believed the newly dead encountered as they passed over.

In a distressed and anxious state, Schepp discovers the manuscript Doro had been editing is a long forgotten, part completed story of his, and alarmingly, her comments had become scathing and personal. This leads to a story within a story and they begin to take on startling similarities to his own post operative life. Schepp starts to doubt the very fibre of his marriage. All he had believed is called in to question and we learn that Schepp himself has not been entirely truthful to his wife.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
By Suzie
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This latest publication from Peirene is a fascinating dissection of misunderstandings and failure to communicate that can lead to the failure of a marriage. But Hinrich Schepp doesn't realise any of this until after the death of his beloved Doro, when it is too late.

`Being dead, he thought, means first and foremost that you can't apologize, can't forgive and be reconciled, there's nothing left to be forgiven, only to be forgotten. Or rather, there's nothing to be forgotten, only forgiven.'

It's short, a novella rather than a novel, as implied in the title, but its 138 pages contain a depth of miscommunication and loss. The book begins after Doro has died, when Schepp discovers her sitting at an awkward angle in her chair, as if she had fallen asleep while editing the manuscript that lay on her desk. His sense of shock and disbelief as the realisation dawns is beautifully and sensitively described:

`I don't understand, thought Schepp, understanding.

`It's not true, Schepp decided.

`Everything will be all right again, Schepp assured himself, and at the same time he was overcome by the certainty that he was choking.

``At least say something,' he whispered finally. `Just one word.''

The story is a mere snapshot, one day in the life of Schepp, an academic in an arcane field of ancient Chinese language. It is through Schepp's recollections and the notes on the manuscript Doro was editing before she died that we experience the depth of feeling and misunderstandings, and how they had arisen.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars deep, dry, suspenseful 12 May 2011
Format:Paperback
"Where his contemporaries succeeded, he stood aside. Luckily the details eluded him because he saw antying that was more than three to five metres away only in indistinct outline. Of course he noticed something was going on. He just didn't let on, learned another language instead. And although at university he was at last considered a genius and quietly admired, he still always had to stand aside when the real prizes were handed out."

What real prizes? That question becomes the theme to this story of Schepp and his wife Doro, two academics who teach Chinese history and whose marriage appears solid on the surface. Schepp serves as an anchor to Doro as she has a tremendous fear of death---she worries obsessively about possible afterlife scenarios. Doro, for her part, is a quiet and agreeable complement to Schepp's genius, and they raise a family together quietly and in peace.

That is, until Schepp has eye surgery to better his eyesight. Suddenly, everything changes...quiet and peace are no longer enough: the change in his vision changes his entire outlook on life.

"It was terrible to see the world in such detail, so sharply outlined, all of a sudden! It had always been so comfortably impersonal in its remote milkiness; Schepp hadn't felt he was missing anything. Now it dazzled him with a confusingly large number of details... Overnight life seemed like one long missed opportunity. If he had previously renounced a great deal, never complained, he was now determined to make up for it."

The novel begins ominously, as he finds Doro dead in their study (not a spoiler, it's stated on the back cover!). As shock sets in, he is strangely unable to take the necessary actions, and instead finds himself poring over her notes.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Atmospheric, but.....
Little known in this country, Matthias Polyticki is an acclaimed German writer of more than 20 novels and collections of poetry. Read more
Published 14 months ago by Amanda Jenkinson
4.0 out of 5 stars Black comedy with serious undertones
Hinrich Schepp is an ageing academic in a seemingly happy relationship with wife Doro. He enters their apartment to find her editing one of his manuscripts, a regular occurence. Read more
Published on 29 Nov. 2012 by Sam
4.0 out of 5 stars Thought provoking
Thought provoking book about a man who upon his wifes' death, discovers that she had known all along about what he thought he had kept secret from her. Read more
Published on 17 Nov. 2012 by canmus
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliantly Sophisticated
Matthias Politycki's short novel is well worth reading, showing something that is both dark but illuminating at the same time. Read more
Published on 9 Nov. 2012 by M. Dowden
3.0 out of 5 stars Not For The Faint Hearted
With its interwoven themes of mortality, deception and disloyalty this is not a comfortable book to read. Read more
Published on 21 Mar. 2012 by Walter M. Holmes
4.0 out of 5 stars The death that comes after death
One morning Hinrich Schepp enters his sun-filled study to encounter a smell of decay and his wife Doro seated in front of one of his manuscripts - a novel long-abandoned by him. Read more
Published on 6 Sept. 2011 by Eleanor
5.0 out of 5 stars small and perfectly formed
I found this novella while trawling amazon for good contempory german fiction, took a chance on great reviews and was absolutely delighted with the result. Read more
Published on 14 Aug. 2011 by jd
4.0 out of 5 stars An engaging, thought-provoking read
I was introduced to this novella by a brief review in 'The Independent', and found it more than matched the positive billing it received there. Read more
Published on 11 Jun. 2011 by A GOLDING
5.0 out of 5 stars Literally Breathtaking...
It would be hard enough to find the person you have been married to and in love with for the last few decades dead over their desk one morning out of the blue, the thought that... Read more
Published on 13 May 2011 by Simon Savidge Reads
5.0 out of 5 stars Next World Novella, Matthias Politycki
From the evidence of `Next World Novella' Matthias Politycki is a writer's writer. At one and the same time he dissects the narrative of the putrefying corpse of a failed marriage... Read more
Published on 15 Mar. 2011 by Morag Charlwood
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