Michael Hofmann

The poet Michael Hofmann’s awards for translation include the PEN/Book-of-the-Month Club Prize, the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize, the IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, the Helen and Kurt Wolff Translator’s Prize, the Oxford-Weidenfeld Translation Prize, the Schlegel-Tieck Prize (four times), and most recently, the American Academy’s Thornton Wilder Prize in Translation.

Investigations of a Dog & Other Creatures

Fiction by Franz Kafka

Translated from the German by Michael Hofmann

Animals, strange beasts, bureaucrats, bouncing balls, businessmen, and nightmares populate this collection of stories by Franz Kafka. These matchless short works, all unpublished during Kafka’s lifetime, range from the snappy dialogue between a cat and a mouse in “Little Fable” to the absurd humor of “Investigations of a Dog,” from the elaborate waking nightmare of “Building the Great Wall of China” to the creeping unease of “The Burrow,” where a nameless creature’s labyrinthine hiding place turns into a trap of fear and paranoia.…
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The Hotel Years

Nonfiction by Joseph Roth

Translated by Michael Hofmann

The Hotel Years gathers sixty-four feuilletons: on hotels; pains and pleasures; personalities; and the deteriorating international situation of the 1930s. Never before translated into English, these pieces begin in Vienna just at the end of the First War, and end in Paris near the outbreak of the Second World War. Roth, the great journalist of his day, needed journalism to survive: in his six-volume collected works in German, there are three of fiction and three of journalism.…
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The Emperor's Tomb

Fiction by Joseph Roth

Translated from the German by Michael Hofmann

Joseph Roth’s final novel is a haunting elegy to the vanished world of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and a magically evocative paean to the passing of time and the loss of hope. The Emperor’s Tomb runs from 1913 to 1938, from the eve of one world war to the eve of the next, from disaster to disaster. It is also a love story for Vienna. Striped with beauty and written in short propulsive chapters — full of upheavels, reversals, and abrupt twists of plot — the novel powerfully sketches a time of change and loss.…
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The Leviathan

Fiction by Joseph Roth

Translated from the German by Michael Hofmann

In the small town of Progrody, Nissen Piczenik makes his living as the most respected coral merchant of the region. Nissen has never been outside of his town, deep in the Russian interior, and fantasizes that a Leviathan watches the coral reefs. When the sailor nephew of one of Progrody’s residents comes to visit, NIssen loses little time in befriending him for the purpose of learning about the sea. The sailor offers Nissen a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to come to Odessa and tour his ship.…
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Party In The Blitz

Nonfiction by Elias Canetti

Translated from the German by Michael Hofmann

With a contribution by Elias Canetti

Elias Canetti’s Party in the Blitz captures the “torture” and “needless humiliations” of his years in exile in wartime London. Well known throughout mainland Europe, Canetti was ignored by British intellectuals, and he scorned them in turn. By force of will alone, he accumulated followers, but not before being christened “the godmonster of Hampstead.” Party in the Blitz, like an X-ray, displays Canetti’s brief, scathing, brimstone sketches of the various people in his social circle: T.…
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Luck

Fiction by Gert Hofmann

Translated by Michael Hofmann

In this beautiful, bittersweet novel, a young boy tries to come to grips with the dissolution of his parents’ marriage. Mixing humor and suspense to present a heart-wrenching tale, Luck begins and ends on the same day, the “last day” of the narrator’s childhood as he prepares to leave home with Father. Sister will stay behind; Mother waits for her new man to arrive. “Mother didn’t love Father any more, it had just gradually happened like that,” the narrator tells us.…
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Lichtenberg and the Little Flower Girl

Fiction by Gert Hofmann

Translated by Michael Hofmann

Goethe, Nietzsche, Schopenhauer, Kierkegaard, Wittgenstein, Tolstoy, Einstein – all praised the writings of Georg Christoph Lichtenberg (1742-1799), a mathematician, physicist and astronomer by profession, and an aphorist and satirist on the sly. In Lichtenberg and the Little Flower Girl, novelist Gert Hofmann weaves a wondrous fictionalized tale of Lichtenberg’s real-life romance with “the model of beauty and sweetness,” Maria Stechard, a flower seller he meets one day near his laboratory in Gottingen.…
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Amerika

Fiction by Franz Kafka

Translated by Michael Hofmann

Karl Rossman, “a poor boy of seventeen,” has been sent away to America by his parents for his part in a scandal, and his travels unfold revelations about himself and his dreams. This is a new world where the Statue of Liberty holds aloft a sword rather than a torch, swindlers abound, and a bridge connects Boston to New York City. The San Francisco Chronicle said Hofmann’s “sleek translation does a wonderful job” and The New York Times concurred: “Anything by Kafka is worth reading again, especially in the hands of such a gifted translator as Hofmann.…
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Hofmann and Kafka…provide one with rich intellectual companionship.

—Diana Darke, The Times Literary Supplement

Hofmann’s translation is invaluable—it achieves what translations are supposedly unable to do: it is at once ‘loyal’ and ‘beautiful.’

New Republic

Anything by Kafka is worth reading again, especially in the hands of such a gifted translator as Hofmann.

The New York Times Book Review

Compare this to any previous translation, and you’ll see, for a start, that there is no dilly-dallying with style; the prose is swift, direct and without obfuscation, as, one presumes, Kafka intended. He has cut through literary pretension to seek out the heart of Kafka’s work—the very ‘particles’ of his writing, as they have been called. His translation shows Kafka as a modern writer whose work was beyond that of anything written at that time. Mr. Hofmann, in his many excellent translations from the German, always makes brave choices.

—Lee Rourke, The Guardian

Michael Hofmann’s magnificent new translation restores its rightful place as one of Kafka’s most delightful and most memorable works.

—Charles Simic
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