As part of our July sale, you can purchase books by the East German master Wolfgang Hilbig, Macedonian prize-winning author Lidija Dimkovska, and the Czech modernist Richard Weiner, all for only $22. Some of you may think we’re being tongue in cheek here. But in all earnestness we think these three titles are a must for your summer reading list. Not only are they engrossing reads, they also transport you across borders, time periods, and realities.
So get packing! Here’s a list of must-haves for your summer beach trips.
Wolfgang Hilbig’s The Sleep of the Righteous is a collection of stories that combine childhood games in the rubble of post-war Germany together with döppelgangers, secret police, impossible romances, and excessive drunkenness in a powerful testament to life in Soviet controlled East Germany. That’s why your beach day should include a pair of large black sunglasses to protect your eyes from the blazing sun (and to keep you from being recognized by any suspicious types) and three bottles of strong, sticky, alcoholic cider (why not make it six?) to keep you cool and refreshed. So wrap as many bottles as you can in a beach towel, tuck your copy of The Sleep of the Righteous into your bag, put on those sunglasses, and head to the beach!
In Lidija Dimkovska’s stunning A Spare Life, conjoined twins Zlata and Srebra navigate life in communist Yugoslavia. Their own struggle and eventual separation mirrors the dissolution of Yugoslavia and the region’s transition to democracy. For this engrossing and heartfelt read, you’ll want a friend—or even better a sibling—to come along for the adventure. Make sure to pack an extra wide towel to accommodate you both and enough sunscreen for two! This book will carry you through decades and across oceans, so bring a sweater and plan on making it a full day at the beach—this is a read you won’t want to put down.
Richard Weiner’s The Game for Real is a surreal novel wrought with anxiety and paranoia. Weiner transports you to a reality that features incessant doubling, while the world he conjures around you disintegrates into theaters, puppet shows, and funerals. This novel promises a wacky day at the beach, so be sure to bring something that grounds you in reality, whether that’s a photograph of yourself (lest you forget who you are!), or else a sobering cup of coffee to wake you from the dreamlike haze of so much beautifully crafted absurdity. But beware that too much caffeine may overstimulate you: this is a book that’s bound to bring you to the precipice of madness.
That’s all you need for a wonderful few days at the beach, so grab The Eastern European Beach Read! collection and get going! We’ll see you there.