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Castle Gripsholm

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3.87  ·  Rating details ·  1,226 ratings  ·  88 reviews
Castle Gripsholm, the best and most beloved work by Kurt Tucholsky, is a short novel about an enchanted summer holiday. It begins with an assignment: Tucholsky’s publisher wants him to write something light and funny, otherwise about whatever Tucholsky wants. A deal is struck and the story is off: about Peter, a writer; his girlfriend, known as the Princess; and a summer v ...more
Paperback, 128 pages
Published July 9th 2019 by NYRB Classics (first published 1931)
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3.87  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,226 ratings  ·  88 reviews


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Mimi
May 25, 2019 added it
Shelves: novels, dnf, 2019-read, nyrb
First published in 1932, Kurt Tucholsky’s story centres on Peter and his girlfriend nicknamed ‘the Princess’, who leave Berlin for a long holiday in rural Sweden; once there a chance encounter with a desperate little girl from a local orphanage derails their plans for a peaceful break.

A strangely paced, short novel which veers awkwardly between registers and settings: from the author’s correspondence with his publisher about the story he’s about to tell; the oddly lengthy, often tedious account
...more
Matt

What a lovely, gentle, spirit raising little book! It's actually more of a four-star-read, but I feel generous after reading. So let's give it five.

The author and narrator tells of a summer vacation, which he spends with his girlfriend Lydia. The year: unknown; late in the Weimar Republic, when the world was still halfway okay. The place: Gripsholm Castle, Mariefred, Sweden.

Five carefree weeks in which nothing happens besides swimming in the lake, talking, eating, drinking, lounging and sex. Sto
...more
Christine
May 2019 NYRB Selection

Look at that cover. What’s not to love?

And then you have lines like this, “I looked at the two herrings, the two herrings looked a me, and none of us said anything” (25).

On one level the story is about a man and his lover going on vacation to Sweden. One the other hand is it that or the story the character wrote about two people going on vacation.

Then it is also a story of saving a child from an ogre.

There is humor in this story, this fairy tale about a tale. The name
...more
pax
I doubt that I'll manage to write a proper full review, so let's me try to sum it up really quickly: such a wonder-wonder-wonderfull book! So much love, so much friendship ("Freundschaft, das ist wie Heimat." -- "Friendship, this is like home."), such wonderful characters, such a perfect, light language (I guess it makes this book not translatable, sadly), such an incredibly light, happy tone. Light, but not shallow. Oh, not shallow at all. And some incredible surprises for a book written in the ...more
Aloke
Jul 13, 2019 marked it as to-read
Shelves: history, fiction
“But in 1931, two years before members of the Hitler Youth hurled his books onto a bonfire, and four years before overdosing on sleeping pills, Tucholsky wrote a love story as light as a summer breeze. Not much happens in CASTLE GRIPSHOLM, which New York Review Books has just reissued in a sympathetic translation by Michael Hofmann, though there is enough witty banter, fresh air and sex to propel the story along. The lingering power of this deceptively slight novel comes from the shiver of foreb ...more
Thomas Hübner
Jan 19, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
http://www.mytwostotinki.com/?p=862

This is the perfect summer book and that I read it in November makes my longing for the next summer even stronger. It refutes all prejudices that literature written by German authors has to be serious, heavy, distant, humorless, difficult, and boring.

The narrator - who can very easily be taken for the author - is off for his summer holidays. He is an author publishing for Rowohlt, then and now one of the best addresses for writers in Germany and an - invented -
...more
Thomas Hübner
Nov 24, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
http://www.mytwostotinki.com/?p=862

This is the perfect summer book and that I read it in November makes my longing for the next summer even stronger. It refutes all prejudices that literature written by German authors has to be serious, heavy, distant, humorless, difficult, and boring.

The narrator - who can very easily be taken for the author - is off for his summer holidays. He is an author publishing for Rowohlt, then and now one of the best addresses for writers in Germany and an - invented -
...more
Juliana
The way Tucholsky is playing with the language is amazing. I wonder if it is possible to translate the book into another language - and I am afraid it is not. For all the word games and playful syntax Schloss Gripsholm seems as a love story not only between Kurt and his princess Lydia, but also between all the main characters (thus the author himself) and language - the postcards and telegrams exchanged between Karlchen and Kurt, the way Lydia mixes dialect with her very own version of German gr ...more
Shawn
I actually read this in a collection of Tucholsky works, also a Kindle edition. I read it at the suggestion of a German friend and was rather surprised when I searched for it on Amazon and found it sometimes listed as erotic literature! This seemed to be entirely due to a couple of pages that describe a menage a trois indulged in by the main characters (an unmarried couple) and a female friend. O tempora, o mores! I doubt that anyone today would find the book even mildly titillating.

It ends up b
...more
Katrinka
Jul 26, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a strange little book: a weird mix of flippant vacationing and disturbing goings-on, that did a good job of portraying the ease with which all sorts can fiddle while their own respective Romes burn. (OK, so the protagonists did solve a local problem-- but behind it all lurks the coming of WW2, and the lack of overt hinting at the political situation made it all the creepier.)
Henk
Mar 17, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Lighthearted, funny and terribly sad...
Lawrence King
May 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
A glorious summer. Five weeks of vacation. Two friends who may or may not be in love. Nearby Sweden and a closeby castle. Friends, warmth, love, great food and wine, and lots of swimming and hiking. However, on the horizon, a girl's school with a depraved headmistress and a waif who is being abused...and in a larger sense, an uneasiness rising from nearby pre-Reich Germany that permeates this tranquil repast as a dismal fog.
Thom Sutton
Lots of wry casually silly humor, but always hinting toward something sinister about the world beneath the surface
Chris Browning
May 20, 2019 rated it liked it
May 2019 NYRB Book Club Selection
A pleasant enough summer story with one weirdly “transcendent” instance of a threesome, but I think I’m probably too dumb to get the allegorical parts. Funny and charming in equal parts, but never really stunning.
Jos
Mar 30, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: german-lit, e-book
Schloß Gripsholm got in early in my effort to catch up with German literature due to being highly lauded as well as being short. It's one of two notable novellas by Tucholsky who mostly got his reputation as a left-wing critical journalist in the Weimar Republic.

Tucholsky himself is the first-person narrator. He spends a few weeks on castle Gripsholm in Sweden with his 'princess' Lydia. Sequentially, a friend of his and Billie, a friend of hers, visit. It's a book about relationships and attract
...more
Greg Brozeit
The subtitle of Schloß Gripsholm is "A Summer Story" and, taken as such, this is a wonderful summer read. It is completely understandable why this is Tucholsky's most popular piece and remains a German favorite. I've read a great deal of his writings. His political polemics are not for everyone, but they provide an incredible insight into pre-1933 German culture and history. Schloß Gripsholm shows another side; the innocence of youth, the depth of true friendships, the joy in personal relationsh ...more
Magnus Stanke
Oct 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A total surprise this. I went in totally blind and was positively enchanted. How would have thought that a German novel from 1931, nearly the last days of the Weimar Repulic, could be as light and charming?
As a movie from the time it would have starred Lilian Harvey and Willy Fritsch, the script could have been written by Billy Wilder (as in 'A Blonde Dream' - 'Der goldene Traum').
And unlike today's novels this one is not restrained by our genre rules. It does get darker at some point, but firs
...more
Amélie Brouillard
such a classic. always fun to revisit.
Zebardast Zebardast
After reading this book, you can understand why Tucholsky committed suicide after Writing it
Jörg Klenk
forced myself to finish it. in the beginning some fun observations and the Plattdeutsch is charming, but the social justice part made the story almost insufferably boring and predictable to me.
Riley
Jul 20, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I found this book really touching. Sort of a grasp at happiness as the world crumbled around Kurt Tucholsky and his beloved Weimer Republic.
Bhaskar Thakuria
A short, fast paced, allegorical fable that describes how a harmless and laid back summer holiday beside a medieval castle turns out awry with a full on encounter with power and oppression seeking to engulf the innocent lives of little children in mental torture and abuse; the novella becomes an eternal parable of abusive authority and terror that swept through turn-of-the century Europe and is a haunting allegory of the horrors of despotic authority.
Anja
Apr 26, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A pond full of melancholy

Jump right in, it’s warm
Do you remember the summer of your youth? That one summer that lasted for years? When a single day felt like an entire lifetime? The endless blue sky? The sweet scent of the wild flowers along the way? The earth underneath you, while staring at the impeccable blue above? Your trusted friends next to you? Silent and in awe of the grandness of the world? That one moment, when you knew with absolute certainty, that you were a part of it all, of its g
...more
Swarthout
May 25, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Truehobbit
Two and a half stars really, because I liked it a good deal better than others I've given two stars here, but although I tried I just can't bring myself to wholeheartedly say "I liked it".

The reputation of this book is that it is a light, delightful, summer holiday tale, just a happy couple spending a happy few weeks in Sweden. This sounded lovely, plus, I've been to Gripsholm, so I thought it would be great to have a happy story set in a place you know and like. I also made sure I read it with
...more
Robert Wechsler
Apr 03, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A little pleasure, based completely on Tucholsky’s voice as brought over by Michael Hofmann — a great combination. The voice is coy, offbeat, modest, insouciant, lightly comical. The novella has nothing else to offer, but the voice is more than enough
Patrick
Mar 24, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 stars, rounded up because of the fine, playful language and the sprinkling of Platt-Deutsch. Sweet story, interesting for the themes given when it was written (racy for 1931), and with a serious counterpoint about kids sent away from home.
John Hatley
A refreshing story full of love, humour and summer holidays in Sweden.
Iyamide
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Wiebke
Dec 20, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved it. Especially the way he writes brought me right in the centre of the story!
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NYRB Classics: Castle Gripsholm, by Kurt Tucholsky 3 30 May 07, 2019 02:11PM  
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Kurt Tucholsky was a German-Jewish journalist, satirist and writer. He also wrote under the pseudonyms Kaspar Hauser, Peter Panter, Theobald Tiger, and Ignaz Wrobel. Born in Berlin-Moabit, he moved to Paris in 1924 and then to Sweden in 1930.

Tucholsky was one of the most important journalists of the Weimar Republic. As a politically engaged journalist and temporary co-editor of the weekly magazine
...more
“Das ist schön, mit jemanden schweigen zu können.” 7 likes
“Denn nichts lenkt den Menschen so von seinem gesunden Urteil ab wie geografische Ortsnamen, geladen mit alter Sehnsucht und bepackt mit tausend Gedankenverbindungen, und wenn er dann hinkommt, ist es alles halb so schön. Aber wer traut sich denn, das zu sagen?” 7 likes
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