Martin Grzimek

Contemporary German novelist

Portrait of Martin GrzimekMartin Grzimek

Martin Grzimek

Martin Grzimek was born in 1950 in Trutzhain, West Germany. His first novel, Berger (1980) was widely praised by German critics, and his work has been placed in a tradition which includes Edgar Allan Poe, Franz Kafka, and Peter Handke. But Grzimek’s voice is distinctly his own; as one critic has remarked, “Prose this subtly nuanced can only be achieved by a writer going his own way.”

cover image of the book Shadowlife


In the carefully controlled, homogenized future society evoked in innovative German writer Martin Grzimek’s new novel, Shadowlife, the patterned lives of the characters turn out to be anything but orderly and serene. Ostensibly the perfect bureaucrat, Felix Seyner, top interviewer for the Central Institute for Biographics, writes a long letter to his old love, Felicitas, explaining himself and his choice of the CIB over their relationship. Her reply calls into question the truth of almost everything Felix has revealed. An appended report from the “reliable” government security forces puts yet another spin on the events. In a world where national distinctions have been washed away by an undefined ecological cataclysm, the characters struggle to find identity by both exploiting the system and simultaneously subverting it. As a guide to our collective future, Shadowlife is intriguing, disquieting, and blackly amusing.

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cover image of the book Heartstop


Heartstop (Stillstand des Herzens) contains three unusual and riveting stories by Martin Grzimek, a highly acclaimed young German writer. In the first, “Heartstop,” a businessman goes to a nightclub to meet his wife’s former lover but instead finds a beautiful, provocative woman. The young wife in “Timestop” would like to rid herself of her husband and does so, but in a way she did not expect. In “Finlandia,” the island in a Finnish lake where a young married couple is spending a solitary vacation turns increasingly sinister. The stories are thematically linked by an atmosphere of unease, of inevitable menace––the seemingly harmless events of everyday life weave themselves into a net in which ordinary people are caught, making time and even hearts stand still.

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