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Transnational Series: Isabel Fargo Cole with Kunzru and Illingworth

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Translator Isabel Fargo Cole discusses 'The Interim' by Wolfgang Hilbig with writer Hari Kunzru and literary critic Dustin Illingworth.

About this event

Join the Transnational Literature Series at Brookline Booksmith and Third Place Books for a virtual event with translator Isabel Fargo Cole to discuss and celebrate the release of The Interim by Wolfgang Hilbig with writer Hari Kunzru and literary critic Dustin Illingworth.

The first 25 attendees to purchase a copy of The Interim via this Eventbrite listing will receive a free, limited edition The Interim tote bag, courtesy of Two Lines Press. Copies of The Interim shipped with tote bags will be mailed via USPS Priority Mail. Please note: we cannot offer international shipping at this time.

“Wolfgang Hilbig is an artist of immense stature.” —László Krasznahorkai

From a writer whose work is considered “among the most significant prose and poetry written not just in the GDR but in all of postwar Germany” (Joshua Cohen), a digressive masterwork in the tradition of Heinrich Böll, Imre Kértesz, and Daša Drndić that interrogates lust, God, statelessness, addiction, capitalism, and above all else, the writer’s place in “a century of lies.”

“Bilious and bleakly funny . . . Hilbig is one of the essential voices of the Cold War, and deserves to be as well known in the Anglophone world as Thomas Bernhard or Günter Grass. In The Interim he captures the despair and disorientation of a generation of German intellectuals who found themselves without a side to join.” —Hari Kunzru

C. is a wretched grump, an anguished patron of bars, brothels, and train stations. He is also an acclaimed East German writer. Dogged by writer’s block, remorse, and national guilt in the years before the fall of the Berlin Wall, he leaves the monochromatic existence of the GDR for the neon excess of the West. There at least the novelty of his origins grant him easy money and minor celebrity, if also a deflating sense of complacency. With his visa expired and several relationships hanging in the balance, C. travels back and forth, mentally and physically, between two Germanys, contemplating diverging visions of the world and what they mean for people like him: alienated and aimless witnesses to history.

This monumental novel from one of the greatest chroniclers of postwar Germany, masterfully translated by Isabel Fargo Cole, interrogates with bitter wit and singular brilliance the detritus of twentieth-century life: addiction, consumerism, God, pay-per-view pornography, selfishness, and statelessness.

Isabel Fargo Cole is a U.S.-born, Berlin-based writer and translator. Her translations include five books of Wolfgang Hilbig’s, including Old Rendering Plant, for which she received the Helen and Kurt Wolff Translator’s Prize. She has also been the recipient of a prestigious PEN/Heim Translation Grant, and her novel Die grüne Grenze was a finalist for the 2018 Preis der Leipziger Buchmesse.

Born in London, Hari Kunzru is the author of the novels Red Pill, The Impressionist, Transmission, My Revolutions, Gods Without Men, and White Tears, as well as a short story collection, Noise, and a novella, Memory Palace. He is an honorary fellow of Wadham College Oxford, and has received fellowships from the Cullman Center at the New York Public Library, the Guggenheim Foundation, and the American Academy in Berlin.

Dustin Illingworth has written for The New York Review of Books, The New Yorker, and The New York Times Book Review.

About Our Bookstore Partner

Founded in 1998 in Lake Forest Park, Washington, Third Place Books is dedicated to the creation of a community around books and the ideas inside them. With locations in Lake Forest Park and Seattle's Ravenna and Seward Park neighborhoods, Third Place Books is proud to serve the entire Seattle metro area. Learn more about their event series at thirdplacebooks.com/event.

The Transnational Literature Series at Brookline Booksmith

The Transnational Series focuses on stories of migration, the intersection of politics & literature, and works in translation and is supported by the independent bookstore Brookline Booksmith. Subscribe to the Transnational Series newsletter for information on upcoming events, book recommendations, and more.

What You Need to Know to Attend

This virtual event is free to attend but please consider purchasing The Interim from Brookline Booksmith or Third Place Books. Register on this page to receive a Zoom link on the day of the event. If you don't receive a confirmation email after registering, contact us right away. The first 25 book-bundled tickets purchased through our Eventbrite page will receive a limited edition The Interim tote bag, courtesy of Two Lines Press.

Get Your Book

If you purchase the book through this Eventbrite page, you are getting your copy from Brookline Booksmith. The relevant information is below. You can also purchase The Interim from Third Place Books.

  • Books are held for pickup or shipped after ticket sales have closed.
  • Store Pickup: Pick up your book in person at Brookline Booksmith (Click here for directions). You will receive an email alert when your book is ready.
  • Shipping: Have your book shipped via USPS priority mail. Shipping is only available in the United States.

About Donations

We are pleased to make this event free for entry, but you may notice you have the option to donate. By donating, you help Brookline Booksmith build toward a stronger today and a post-pandemic future. Every dollar of support means the world to us. Thank you for your continued support!

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