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An einem klaren, eiskalten Januarmorgen zu Beginn des 21. Jahrhunderts

3.56  ·  Rating details ·  412 ratings  ·  73 reviews
Der erste Roman von Deutschlands meistgespieltem Dramatiker

Nachts auf einer eisglatten Autobahn, 80 Kilometer vor Berlin: Ein Tanklaster legt sich quer und kippt um. Auf dem Standstreifen, kurz im Blaulicht der Feuerwehr: ein einzelner Wolf.
Bis Berlin reichen die Spuren des Wolfs, und sein Weg kreuzt sich immer wieder mit den Wegen und Schicksalen unterschiedlicher Mensche
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published February 25th 2016 by S. Fischer (first published 2016)
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Nat K

Wow. There's so much to ponder here. A solid 4✩s.

”The newspapers were full of the story, the wolf had names or nicknames. The city was abuzz with excitement. The stray wolf in winter. The stray wolf on his way to Berlin.”

I have to admit that it was the cover that caught my eye. Who has ever seen such a long title for a book? What on earth could it be about? And the wolf on the cover. Yup, sold.

The story opens with a collision on a highway in a snowstorm. People are caught in the long line of tra
Feb 14, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read the English translation of this German language original. You can tell just by the title of the book that it’s going to be a bit different. I was prompted to read it after seeing the review by my GR Friend Nat K, (to whom, many thanks). As I write this, Nat’s review is the most liked, and appears at the top of the community reviews. I encourage you to read it.

Nat says in her review that “There’s so much to ponder here”. I agree with her comment and would add only that, having pondered the
Apr 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A novel of BERLIN



A wolf pads across the border from Poland to Germany and lopes along motorways, railway tracks and cuttings, across the snow-bedecked countryside, seemingly headed for Berlin. He is the Leitmotiv that holds together snapshots of lives, of people who find themselves drawn to the capital city for a variety of reasons. The wolf is occasionally spotted; some want to kill him, others to capture him on film. He is a shadowy figure, much like the humans who are intrigued b
Mar 05, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
So - this is a novel by Germany's "most celebrated contemporary playwright" - I would advise that he stick to - plays.

It was easy enough to read - and reasonably interesting. I think the inhabitants of Berlin and its environs would probably relate to the story much more easily and with far more interest - as the city is very present throughout:

He looked for them in Alexanderplatz, he looked for them in Mauerpark, then he looked for them in Gleisdreieck, he drove up and down Oranienstrasse, and f
Tom Mooney
This book is a lot of things: a poetic, spare modern fairytale; an allegory of border crossing; a cacophony of modern European voices. And it works beautifully on most levels.

A wolf crosses the border between Poland and Germany. As it travels on towards Berlin, the wolf is spotted by a disparate group of characters, whose lives gradually become more closely entwined. Some are obsessed with the wolf, tracking its movements, dreaming of killing it. Others have bigger problems.

The whole story is to
Mar 12, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019-reviews
This s a highly original story that follows a diverse group of disparate characters living in Poland and Germany who are all united by one thing: they have spied the same rare wild wolf in the snow en-route to Berlin.

Written by a German playwright, the book is intensely cinematic and told in a fragmentary style using sparse prose and small vignettes which provide glimpses into the lives of those who people it, including two young people on the run, a Polish construction worker and his pregnant g
May 31, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Have you ever gotten to the end of a book and wondered what the point of the story was?
That just happened to me.
The story was intriguingly written but I just don't understand what the actual point was...
Jul 05, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
One Clear, Ice-Cold January Morning at the Beginning of the Twenty-first century by Roland Schimmelpfennig, translated from the German by Jamie Bulloch.
Perfect read for me at the moment. We had our coldest morning so far this winter, 4 degrees. Probably a heat wave to some but here where I am in sub tropical climes that is freezing.
The author writes plays and this is his first novel. Short pieces for each person who had sighted the wolf which had wandered across the border from Poland into Germa
Jan 04, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: germany, translated
Curious little tale following a series of interlinked stories around Berlin and its environs. One of the main connections is the presence of a wolf spotted making its way toward the city for the first time in generations, and although it only appears very occasionally there was something magical about the way it pulled the narratives together. I have no idea how this was achieved as not a lot happens, and, because the novel very much focuses on one brief moment in time as the wolf appears and he ...more
Mar 03, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What happens in January is that a wild wolf walks across the frozen river separating Poland and eastern Germany. Which means that, when the book starts properly, mid-February, it has had time to get a lot closer to Berlin – within 80 kilometres, to be precise, for that is the road marker where one of our main characters sees it. He is trying to get back to work in Berlin for the first time in a month, and to be with his girlfriend, not knowing she has had an infidelity while he was away. Also fa ...more
I Read, Therefore I Blog
Roland Schimmelpfennig’s literary novel (translated from German by Jamie Bulloch) is an icy affair reminiscent of the movie CRASH in that it’s disparate cast are drawn together by a random event but despite its clean, cool prose the story itself left me cold as the wide cast prevented me from feeling close with any specific character and the downbeat notes left me depressed, while I didn’t know enough about Germany to comprehend the allegory.
Lauren Ci
Feb 16, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nov 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved the way this was written, I loved that it made me think and I love that I devoured it.

I can see how this wouldn't be for everyone though so if you read the first few pages and aren't completely hooked, ditch it - you will just find the style irritating and there won't be a payoff that will make you feel like it was worth it. For the rest of you, enjoy!
Earl Adams
Strangely compelling novel made up of intersecting stories unified by sightings of a wolf making his way from Poland to Prenzlauer Berg. It shouldn't really work but it does. It's an interesting snapshot of a very particular time (the present) and a very particular place (Berlin and Brandenburg).
Sep 19, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wel I'm not quite sure what that was about but I really enjoyed it. I like the short chapters which move the story along. So many interesting interinked characters, mainly telling sad stories. Bit bemused but stil glad I read it. Many excellent reviews so not goig to repeat the sory.
John Hatley
Mar 01, 2016 rated it really liked it
This is the story of a wolf, mysterious and elusive, as mysterious and elusive as the lives and fortunes of the people nearby but so very far away.
Nov 22, 2016 rated it liked it
2,5 Stars
Feb 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
This made me so sad. This guy actually knows how to write.
Caroline Thorley
Apr 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Enjoyed this very much. He draws you into the stories of all the characters. I'd like to read some of his plays now since I gather he's very well known as a playwright (this is his first novel).
Sam Greens
Jul 12, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
One of the most unusual books I’ve read in a long time. Really enjoyed the style but wish I’d read the German original instead of the translation - next time
Jan 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
No wolves have been seen in Germany since 1843 when now in contemporary time, this lone wolf crosses the border from Poland and walks through the woods, hunting, until it is seen and photographed by Tomasz, a young Polish man returning home to Poland from his building renovation job in the previously East German sector of Berlin. His girlfriend Agnieszka persuades him to sell the photo to the press and this starts a public frenzy to find it, as intermittent and fleeting reports suggest that it i ...more
Neil Fulwood
As titles go, this one’s a doozy. But it automatically sets up a major problem: it freights the novel with an unrealistic expectation. It would take a bona fide masterwork to function as a state-of-the-nation *and* a distillation of millennial angst. Throw in the fact that it’s by a German author and the shadow of mid-twentieth-century historical guilt also enters the frame. The fact is that ‘OCI-CJMatBotT-FC’ barely even attempts to fuse these weighty considerations, let alone reconcile them, s ...more
Mike Gibas
Jan 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An absolute masterpiece and the most ‘cinematic’ novel I have read in a long time. The prose is sparse, utilitarian, but briskly moves the narrative along as we switch deftly between a lone wolf walking from Poland into Berlin with the lives of 20 or so characters, some connected, some not. Set in a snowy winter, the characters are all as lost as the wolf... or are they all as fearless as the wolf? At times the imagery was breathtaking, and the magical hold these diverse stories have on you is q ...more
Hannah Rials
Apr 12, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I didn't know what to expect when I started this book, and I still don't quite know what to expect now that I've finished it. But I thoroughly enjoyed the journey throughout. When a wolf is seen outside Berlin for the first time in a century, the city and its surrounding area are turned upside down.
And the lives of several Germans are thrown into disarray when they actually spot the wolf.
A story of family dramas, of living our lives with and around and apart from people, knowing who you are--a
Jul 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A wolf appears somewhere in eastern Germany. A boy and girl in their teens run away. An old man carrying a rifle dies in the forest. So begins this haunting, enigmatic novel of escape, search, loss, as the kids, the wolf and the rifle make their way to Berlin; their paths wind, loop, divert, crossing and just missing or finding or losing one another, joined by parents, parents’ friends, relatives, ex-spouses, a rookie reporter, a Chilean who might be something else, a young, struggling Polish co ...more
Sep 10, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Precise description, both of characters and locations, and a meandering naturalistic plot which seems to have more in common with the railway which is a theme of the novel; connections made and connections missed. The wolf is a quasi-mythical beast, which godlike moves pieces around the board that is Berlin and its surroundings. The lack of celestial bodies in the firmament of this review is down to a problem that sometimes happens to playwrights when they turn their hand to a novel; it feels em ...more
Jun 11, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Zara
I read till the end and didn't really understand the concept of the book. The language, while translated, is quite different from other Modern English novels. It also has different ways of opening up a story.
I talked to my English teacher and the librarian about this book and that I didn't quite understand what the story is trying to convey. They came up with a conclusion that this book was too deep for me. In some ways, the wolf wasn't really a wolf. It was symbolic for something the character
Jan 16, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wow, not quite sure what I just read but did enjoy myself! Was caught up in the intertwining strands of all the cast of characters, although it did take a bit of concentration to keep track of who you were with chapter by chapter and how they related to everyone else, particularly as names are used very infrequently. Ended sooner than I was expecting and was left wondering what to make of it all but was totally immersed throughout this dip into the lives of this group of people and I can see mys ...more
Jan 24, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was an impulse buy with a gift certificate, a debut novel for a German playwright that showcases various parts of Berlin and surrounds. It was worth the read, with various and at first apparently random characters with their stories, all centered around the sighting of a lone wolf approaching the outskirts of the city. Then the character lines (including the wolf) started to criss-cross, and it became a comment on the city, and life, and randomness. Interesting!
Feb 12, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Well this book was interesting at least. A wolf has been sighted, & it has a different effect on everyone who sees it. I think this book went over my head a little. I think for a German perhaps it is a searing indictment of modern relations & fortunes but for me it was a curiosity. It is heatwave weather in january & I have never seen a wolf & we keep our economic migrants in the fruit fields or don't even let them in. Probably this book went over my head. ...more
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