If ever the Third Reich was pictured in microcosm, with its prejudices against people not rooted in the land, and its tiny spasms of nationalistic fervor that added up to an irrational howl in final sum, then Lenz has done it—has surpassed it.
—Christopher Lehmann-Haupt, New York Times

An enduring classic, The German Lesson is “shattering in its quiet authority” (The New York Times)

Available April 28, 2020

The German Lesson

Fiction by Siegfried Lenz

Translated by Ernst Kaiser Eithne Wilkins

In this quiet and devastating novel about the rise of fascism, Siggi Jepsen, incarcerated as a juvenile delinquent, is assigned to write a routine German lesson on the “The Joys of Duty.” Overfamiliar with these joys, Siggi sets down his life since 1943, a decade earlier, when as a boy he watched his father, a constable, doggedly carry out orders from Berlin to stop a well-known Expressionist artist from painting and to seize all his “degenerate” work. Soon Siggi is stealing the paintings to keep them safe from his father. “I was trying to find out,” Lenz says, “where the joys of duty could lead a people.”

Editions: PaperbackEbook

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Paperback (published April 28, 2020)

ISBN
9780811222013
Price US
19.95
Trim Size
5x8
Page Count
480

Ebook

ISBN
9780811222266

Siegfried Lenz

German author Siegfried Lenz has written novels and produced several collections of short stories, essays, and plays for radio and the theatre.

If ever the Third Reich was pictured in microcosm, with its prejudices against people not rooted in the land, and its tiny spasms of nationalistic fervor that added up to an irrational howl in final sum, then Lenz has done it—has surpassed it.
—Christopher Lehmann-Haupt, New York Times
Remarkable, earnest, and important.
The Nation
Mordantly witty, despairing, impassioned, this is one of the most deeply imagined and thought-provoking novels from Germany in years.
Library Journal
The book I have been waiting ever since the end of World War II for a German author to write.
—Kay Boyle
The German Lesson marks a double triumph: a book of rare depth and brilliance, to begin with, presented in an English version that succeeds against improbable odds in conveying the full power of the original.
—Ernst Pawel, New York Times Book Review
Like W. G. Sebald at his best, Lenz solicits the reader's grief through lexical restraint.
The New Yorker