The Mussel Feast
by Birgit Vanderbeke
Out of stock
The modern German classic that has shaped an entire generation.
A mother and her two teenage children sit at the dinner table. In the middle stands a large pot of cooked mussels. Why has the father not returned home? As the evening wears on, we glimpse the issues that are tearing this family apart.
In this book, the author lays bare the contradictory logic of an inflexible mind. This is a poignant yet hilarious narrative with a brilliant ending.
‘I wrote this book in August 1989, just before the Fall of the Berlin Wall. I wanted to understand how revolutions start. It seemed logical to use the figure of a tyrannical father and turn the story into a German family saga.’ Birgit Vanderbeke
SHORTLISTED FOR THE INDEPENDENT FOREIGN FICTION PRIZE 2014
SCHLEGEL-TIECK PRIZE FOR GERMAN TRANSLATION 2014
FOYLES BOOKS OF THE YEAR 2013
Written by Birgit Vanderbeke.
Translated from the German by Jamie Bulloch.
Turning Point series
112pp, paperback with flaps, £10.00
Press & Reviews
'We are playing catch-up here with something of a contemporary European classic.' David Mills, The Sunday Times
'The novella brilliantly renders both the power of the revolutionary moment and the uncertainty of the future it unleashes.' Jane Yager, Times Literary Supplement
'This is one of those books that doesn't tell us what to think, but sets us off thinking... Who writes this kind of nuanced work in Britain?' Nicholas Lezard, The Guardian
'Sinister, funny and heartening, this taut novella reflects, within the microcosm of the family, the dissolution of the East German state, with an insight, economy and controlled fury that have made it a modern German classic.' Chris Schuler, The Independent
'An extraordinary book, the story unspooled with masterful restraint, and written with simplicity and precision. Vanderbeke is able to animate her characters with just a few quick, clear strokes, and yet the reader cannot help but feel with them — their terror; their fear; their tiny, burgeoning hope.' Francesca Segal, Standpoint
About The Book
Jamie Bulloch is a historian and has worked as a professional translator from German since 2001. After studying Modern Languages, he obtained an MA in Central European History and followed up with a PhD in interwar Austrian history. His translations include books by Paulus Hochgatterer, Alissa Walser and Timur Vermes. He is the translator of five Peirene titles: Portrait of the Mother as a Young Woman by Friedrich Christian Delius, Sea of Ink by Richard Weihe, The Mussel Feast by Birgit Vanderbeke, winner of the 2015 Schlegel-Tieck Prize for German Translation, The Empress and the Cake by Linda Stift and The Last Summer by Ricarda Huch. He is also the author of A Short History of Tuscany and Karl Renner: Austria.