I really like Keun and intrigued by her relationship with Joseph Roth. Hoffman is a brilliant translator too. Currently reading Käsebier conquers the Kurfürstendamm
Novel by Gabriele Tergit
The German writer Irmgard Keun lived a fascinating life. Having enjoyed great success with her first two novels Gilgi, One of Us (1931) and The Artificial Silk Girl(both of which I adored), she found herself blacklisted when the Nazis swept to power in 1933. By 1936, Keun was travelling around Europe in the company of her lover, the Jewish writer Joseph Roth. After Midnight (1937) and Child of All Nations (1938) were written while Keun was in exile abroad, with the writer finally returning to Germany in 1940 under an assumed name – possibly helped by a false newspaper report of her suicide. A final novel, Ferdinand, the Man with the Kind Heart, was published in Germany in 1950 but has only recently been translated into English by Michael Hofmann in 2021.
Ferdinand differs from Keun’s earlier novels by virtue of its focus on a male character. So while
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