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Next World Novella

3.48  ·  Rating Details ·  158 Ratings  ·  25 Reviews
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
Paperback, 138 pages
Published February 1st 2011 by Peirene (first published September 1st 2009)
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Stephen P
Jun 06, 2013 Stephen P rated it it was ok
Well known through Europe this is the German writing author, Politycki's first U.S. translation.It is offered by Peirene Press, who puts out short books, novellas, from Europe. Though he obviously writes well I found shards of random shaped cut glass littered on my green felt board resting on my table. Some were, sharp edged, dull, others bejeweled gleaming. None resonated with the possibility of shifting them together into a seamless jigsawed fashion. Frustrated, I looked down at my table, the ...more
Sep 20, 2011 Cheryl rated it really liked it
Recommended to Cheryl by: Kimbofo
This is a short book translated from the German. The author, Matthias Politycki, is one of the most successful literary German authors, but he's not well known over here in Canada. I think I first read of this book on the excellent book blog Reading books in translation from other countries is like solo travelling, without a tour group but with an invisible tour guide. We get to meet the people, meet the natives. Everything is familiar yet different, seen from an unfamiliar ...more
Least impressive of the eight Peirene Press translated novellas I've read so far. And among their first two years' publications, this was the one that initially sounded most intriguing: an elderly man's wife has just died, and going through her papers, he discovers writings that reveal many things she never told him. Peirene books are usually a little bit weird, different, unexpected. Next World Novella - also longlisted for the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize in 2012 - was rarely so.

Meet Hin
Friederike Knabe
May 27, 2014 Friederike Knabe rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: german-lit
"If only it hadn't been for that smell…" Thus opens Matthias Politycki's Jenseitsnovelle [NEXT WORLD NOVELLA in the English translation]. On entering his study, Hinrich Schepp notices immediately "...that subtle sense of something Other in the midst of ordinary life, slightly skewing the morning." *) Did his wife, Doro, forget to change the water for the flowers? As he lets his eyes wander across the room to drink in the play of light and shadow from the autumn sunlight, he notices his wife sitt ...more
Roger Brunyate
Jul 11, 2016 Roger Brunyate rated it really liked it
The Last Note

I had not heard of Matthias Politycki, although he is apparently well known in Germany. But I do know the imprints of the Peirine Press, a series of shorter European fiction that all look worth reading; their publication of Portrait of the Mother as a Young Woman by Friederich Christian Delius was a special joy for me. So I was fully prepared to enjoy this one.
If only it hadn't been for that smell! As if Doro had forgotten to change the water for the flowers, as if their stems ha
May 11, 2011 Amy rated it it was amazing
“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 stor
Mar 11, 2012 Lisa rated it liked it
Shelves: germany, translation
This is another novella longlisted for the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize, and it’s a masterly example of the form. The theme is the disintegration of a marriage, but the plot and structure make it quite different to anything I’ve read before.

Next World Novella by Matthias Politycki is a clever title: it plays on Doro the wife’s preoccupation with the afterworld and Hinrich the husband’s alternate world, the one he plays around in when he’s not at home. There is also a fictional world of male
Feb 28, 2011 Andrew rated it it was amazing
I finished this 138-page novella in one evening and thoroughly enjoyed it. The book opens with Hinrich Schepp discovering the dead body of his wife Doro. She has been editing an old manuscript of his, a novel he started writing before they met and quickly abandoned. Through her scathing margin notes he discovers an entirely different side to her, and to their 29-year marriage.

So the story is told through his reading of the manuscript and Doro’s notes on it. The story of the aborted novel bears a
David Hebblethwaite
Mar 11, 2011 David Hebblethwaite rated it liked it
Matthias Politycki’s Next World Novella (translated from the German by Anthea Bell) is the latest title from Peirene Press, which would be enough on its own to interest me in reading the book, as I’ve enjoyed all their previous selections. Add to this that it’s a tale with shifting realities, and my interest only increases. Having read it now, though, it didn’t quite work for me, and I’m not sure I can put my finger on why.

Academic Hinrich Schepp finds that his wife Doro has died at her desk, wh
Cheyenne Blue
Aug 01, 2015 Cheyenne Blue rated it it was amazing
A slow read, with rather ponderous prose, but it builds and twists, layer upon layer and it's not until the very end that you see that what initially seemed almost random and vague is all part of the tight helix of the story.

So very clever. The story of shadows and relationships lingered long after finishing.
Jul 28, 2016 Cathrine rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2016
Tiny portals we step into
so many choices
guided by thought, desire, action
endless variations of consequences.
Who will you love?
Who will you focus on?
Nov 20, 2014 Jim rated it really liked it
So there’s what he thinks happened, his fictionalised version of what he thinks happened (so, yes, a fictionalisation of a fabrication), what he imagines his wife thinks about what happened, what she appears to know about what happened and finally—finally!—we get to what actually happened (and what everyone actually knows) and what is now happening which is not what we thought had been happening at the start of this short but tightly constructed—you couldn’t call it ‘plotted’—novella. It starts ...more
Mark Staniforth
Apr 23, 2012 Mark Staniforth rated it liked it
On an Independent Foreign Fiction Prize longlist which included three titles that swelled, respectively, to over six hundred pages, the inclusion of a contender from the London-based Peirene Press was quite a godsend.
Peirene have carved a reputation as masters of the novella form: they proudly boast on their website that they 'only publish books of less than 200 pages that can be read in the same time it takes to watch a DVD.'
Matthias Politycki's Next World Novella is, then, exactly what Peirene
Jun 12, 2012 Magda rated it really liked it
Serious but light and funny take on death, passing, illusions of love and disappointment. Enjoyed it a lot though it was not an easy read. Very much against the press's marketing slogan about reading their novellas for as long as a DVD takes. Not sure if I wanted to promote subtle, challenging stories by this, sounds a bit demeaning.

One more point: the book with its main character, really disappointing and mediocre man as it turns out, was very well received in the UK media while Julian Barnes
Nov 30, 2015 Snoakes rated it really liked it
This is a strange little book - it's kind of a meditation on love, life, marriage and death, but all wrapped up in the tale of one marriage. I liked the structure of a story wrapped within a story, and if it didn't really go anywhere, well, so what? Isn't that much like most long term marriages? A lot of what-could-have-been or might-have-been but mostly never-was? Because when we are comfortable, we stop striving so hard and relax into our companionable ways.

It did take me a while to get into i
Jan 23, 2011 Tom rated it it was ok
Shelves: translations
Pretty good. Very short. Didn't really find it that inspiring; from a literary point of view, that is. Was somewhat underwhelmed by the whole 'story' - although the attention to detail in that which was present made an 'interesting' read. I liked, rather than enjoyed, the phraseology - it put me in mind of something that might have been written in one's teens - but more polished - not Polish'd - 'scuse the pun.
I admire the innovative way the novella is told more than I enjoyed it, for sure.
Austin Kocher
May 27, 2014 Austin Kocher rated it really liked it
A disorienting, haunting short novel that explores the question of whether death has the last word over life, or whether words have the last word beyond death.
Sep 23, 2013 Dudlian rated it really liked it
A bit Bobby Ewing at the end - where he steps out of the shower and it has all been a dream. I know that its all about intertextuality and things and it is a fun ride but...
Dec 29, 2013 Mrdavidpeat rated it really liked it
Shelves: novels, paper
Fiction/reality overlapping as a grieving philologist discovers how little really he knew of his deceased wife.

I Ching and the river Styx (or similar) are a constant presence.
May 11, 2010 Petya marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: german
So amazing that the library already has it! I love this little place! Next week I'll be bringing my last two back & will take this one for sure, given it's still on the shelf!
Dec 27, 2011 Megan rated it liked it
Thought the book was "meh" until I got to the ending. I loved how it ended, as I didn't really see that coming.
Nov 04, 2012 Jane rated it did not like it
I found confusing and a bore to read. The ending I found pointless. Not what I expected from such a promising blurb.

1 / 10
Marbeth Lynch
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Matthias Politycki, born in 1955, has published over 20 novels and poetry collections. He is ranked among the most successful literary authors writing in German. His books have sold over 200.000 copies and have been translated into several languages, including French and Italian. Jenseitsnovelle was first published in German in 2009.
More about Matthias Politycki...

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