While We Were Dreaming
Clemens Meyer author Katy Derbyshire translator
Publisher: Fitzcarraldo Editions
Published: 30th Mar '23
This title is due to be published on 30th March, and will be despatched as soon as possible..
While We Were Dreaming is an extraordinary coming of age novel by one of Germany’s most ambitious writers, full of passion, rage, hope and despair.
Rico, Mark, Paul and Daniel were 13 when the Berlin Wall fell in autumn 1989. Growing up in Leipzig at the time of reunification, they dream of a better life somewhere beyond the brewery quarter. Every night they roam the streets, partying, rioting, running away from their fears, their parents and the future, fighting to exist, killing time. They drink, steal cars, feel wrecked, play it cool, longing for real love and true freedom. Startlingly raw and deeply moving, While We Were Dreaming is the extraordinary debut novel by one of Germany’s most ambitious writers, full of passion, hope and despair.
‘A book like a fist... German literature has not seen such a debut for a long time, a book full of rage, sadness, pathos and superstition.’
— Felicitas von Lovenberg, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung
‘‘[Meyer’s] stripped-back prose is suffused with meaning.’
— The Arts Desk
‘[Meyer] is one of the strongest German writers.’
— Heinrich Oemsen, Hamburger Abendblatt
‘Clemens Meyer’s great art of describing people takes the form of the Russian doll principle: a story within a story within a story. ... So much is so artfully interwoven that his work breaks the mould of the closed narrative.’
— Katharina Teutsch, Die Zeit
‘Meyer’s multifaceted prose, studded with allusions to both high and popular culture, and superbly translated by Katy Derbyshire, is musical and often lyrical, elevating lowbrow punning and porn-speak into literary devices ... [Bricks and Mortar] is admirably ambitious and in many places brilliant – a book that not only adapts an arsenal of modernist techniques for the twenty-first century but, more importantly, reveals their enduring poetic potential.’
—Anna Katharina Schaffner, Times Literary Supplement (Praise for Bricks and Mortar)
‘[Bricks and Mortar is a] stylistic tour de force about the sex trade in Germany from just before the demise of the old GDR to the present, as told through a chorus of voices and lucidly mangled musings. The result is a gripping narrative best described as organic.’
—Eileen Battersby, Irish Times (Praise for Bricks and Mortar)
‘The point of Im Stein [Bricks and Mortar] is that nothing's “in stone”: Clemens Meyer’s novel reads like a shifty, corrupted collocation of .docs, lifted off the laptop of a master genre-ist and self-reviser. It’s required reading for fans of the Great Wolfgangs (Hilbig and Koeppen), and anyone interested in casual gunplay, drug use, or sex.’
—Joshua Cohen, author of The Netanyahus (Praise for Bricks and Mortar)
‘A journey to the end of the night for 20/21st century Germany. Meyer reworks Döblin and Céline into a modern epic prose film with endless tracking shots of the gash of urban life, bought flesh and the financial transaction (the business of sex); memory as unspooling corrupted tape; journeys as migrations, as random as history and its splittings. A shimmering cast threatens to fly from the page, leaving only a revenant’s dream – sky, weather, lights-on-nobody-home, buried bodies, night rain. What new prose should be and rarely is; Meyer rewrites the rules to produce a great hallucinatory channel-surfer of a novel.’
— Chris Petit, author of Robinson (Praise for Bricks and Mortar)