This month we present writing from emerging German authors. These writers nod to literary tradition while taking fresh approaches to current political and social conditions, providing a new vision of contemporary German culture. Acclaimed novelist Olga Grjasnowa, whose debut novel, All Russians Love Birch Trees, was published by Other Press, jumpstarts her second with a harrowing scene of a young woman imprisoned and tortured for drag racing. Finn-Ole Heinrich stares into the yawning hole left by loss. The droll Francis Nenik tracks a surprising postwar delivery from the United States to Poland. In stories from other battles, Isabelle Lehn’s extras soldier through war games, and Noemi Schneider travels in, and with, the Mideast conflict. Stephanie Bart pulls a rickshaw and no punches. Playwright Marianna Salzmann visits a bemused strip club, while essayist Bettina Suleiman links primate and human activities. In poetry, Simone Kornappel takes a roundabout approach to sexuality, and Deniz Utlu’s riff on the Divine Comedy lands a transsexual Beatrice in a dark German wood. We thank our guest editor, Katy Derbyshire, who introduces the issue and contributes several translations.

Our special feature brings our first publications from Burundi, a country thrust into the spotlight by political turmoil ahead of upcoming elections.

Burundi: Writing from the State of Sleep

From “Baho!”

It was inconceivable that a chicken could get lost.


There will be no more wolf on the vast schoolyards.

My Friends

Has justice disappeared? / Has man turned animal?

Book Reviews

Kamel Daoud’s “The Meursault Investigation”

Kamel Daoud's The Meursault Investigation is a tale told in order to give the anonymous victim in Camus’s The Stranger a name—Musa—and a story of his own.

Göran Rosenberg’s “A Brief Stop on the Road from Auschwitz”

A Brief Stop on the Road from Auschwitz—part history, part memoir, part essay on the meaning of survival—insists that the Holocaust didn’t end in 1945. The book challenges the powerful redemptive narrative offered by even official histories

Urs Allemann’s “The Old Man and the Bench”

In following its own strict logic, Allemann’s fine-tuned absurdism evokes Beckett, who would feel equally at home in the old man's house, with its “bottle room” and “paper bag room,” and on his bench.

Maidenhands and Monologues

I roll myself up on the floor and purr like a cat.

Lessons from the Human Zoo

How many werewolves have there been since 1850?

as a mouse

lower the needle each time only in the verysame spotspot


If you’re dead you can go back to the barracks.

After Half a Life

Call me Beatrice, she says. I wasn’t sent by any god.