Kehlman
2019 Longlist

You Should Have Left

Translated from the German by Ross Benjamin
artwork-image

ABOUT
THE BOOK

A chilling story of marital struggle and psychological disturbance from a master of modern European literature

On retreat in the wintry Alps with his family, a writer is optimistic about completing the sequel to his breakthrough film. Nothing to disturb him except the wind whispering around their glassy house. The perfect place to focus.

Intruding on that peace of mind, the demands of his four-year-old daughter splinter open long-simmering arguments with his wife. I love her, he writes in the notebook intended for his script. Why do we fight all the time?

Guilt and expectation strain his concentration, and strain, too, at the walls of the house. They warp under his watch; at night, looking through the window, he sees impossible reflections on the snow outside.

Then the words start to appear in his notebook; the words he didn’t write.

Familiar and forbidding by turns, this is an electrifying experiment in form by one of Europe’s boldest writers.

ABOUT
THE AUTHOR Daniel
Kehlmann

Daniel Kehlmann was born in Munich in 1975 and lives in Vienna, Berlin and New York. He has published six novels: Measuring the World, Me and Kaminski, Fame, F and You Should Have Left and has won numerous prizes, including the Candide Prize, the Literature Prize of the Konrad Adenauer Foundation, the Doderer Prize, The Kleist Prize, the WELT Literature Prize, and the Thomas Mann Prize. Measuring the World was translated into more than forty languages and is one of the biggest successes in post-war German literature.

Daniel Kehlmann was born in Munich in 1975 and lives in Vienna, Berlin and New York. He has published six novels: Measuring the World, Me and Kaminski, Fame, F and You Should Have Left and has won numerous prizes, including the Candide Prize, the Literature Prize of the Konrad Adenauer Foundation, the Doderer Prize, The Kleist Prize, the WELT Literature Prize, and the Thomas Mann Prize. Measuring the World was translated into more than forty languages and is one of the biggest successes in post-war German literature.

ABOUT
THE TRANSLATOR Ross
Benjamin

Ross Benjamin is a translator of German-language literature and a writer living in Nyack, New York.His translations include Friedrich Hölderlin’s Hyperion (Archipelago Books, 2008), Kevin Vennemann’s Close to Jedenew (Melville House, 2008),  Joseph Roth’s Job (Archipelago, 2010), Clemens J. Setz’s Indigo (Liveright/Norton, 2014), and Daniel Kehlmann’s You Should Have Left (Pantheon, 2017) and Tyll (Pantheon, 2020). He is currently at work on a translation of  Franz Kafka’s complete Diaries, to be published by Schocken Books. He is a 2015 Guggenheim Fellow. His translation of Tyll has been shortlisted for the 2020 International Booker Prize. He was awarded the 2010 Helen and Kurt Wolff Translator’s Prize for his rendering of Michael Maar’s Speak, Nabokov (Verso Books, 2009), a 2012 National Endowment for the Arts Literature Fellowship to translate Clemens J. Setz’s The Frequencies, and a commendation from the judges of the 2012 Schlegel-Tieck Prize for his translation of Thomas Pletzinger’s Funeral for a Dog (W.W. Norton and Company, 2011). His literary criticism has appeared in The Times Literary Supplement, Bookforum, The Nation, and other publications. He was a 2003–2004 Fulbright Scholar in Berlin and is a graduate of Vassar College.

 

Ross Benjamin is a translator of German-language literature and a writer living in Nyack, New York.His translations include Friedrich Hölderlin’s Hyperion (Archipelago Books, 2008), Kevin Vennemann’s Close to Jedenew (Melville House, 2008),  Joseph Roth’s Job (Archipelago, 2010), Clemens J. Setz’s Indigo (Liveright/Norton, 2014), and Daniel Kehlmann’s You Should Have Left (Pantheon, 2017) and Tyll (Pantheon, 2020). He is currently at work on a translation of  Franz Kafka’s complete Diaries, to be published by Schocken Books. He is a 2015 Guggenheim Fellow. His translation of Tyll has been shortlisted for the 2020 International Booker Prize. He was awarded the 2010 Helen and Kurt Wolff Translator’s Prize for his rendering of Michael Maar’s Speak, Nabokov (Verso Books, 2009), a 2012 National Endowment for the Arts Literature Fellowship to translate Clemens J. Setz’s The Frequencies, and a commendation from the judges of the 2012 Schlegel-Tieck Prize for his translation of Thomas Pletzinger’s Funeral for a Dog (W.W. Norton and Company, 2011). His literary criticism has appeared in The Times Literary Supplement, Bookforum, The Nation, and other publications. He was a 2003–2004 Fulbright Scholar in Berlin and is a graduate of Vassar College.

 

NOMINATING LIBRARY COMMENTS

A curious and scary novella, finely translated, with a cleverly suggestive atmosphere.

A successful screenwriter and his family have rented a quiet holiday home for a few days but the ideas for his new project are increasingly being suppressed by irritating perceptions and strange occurrences in the house. Daniel Kehlmann’s novel begins as the story of a marital crisis and turns into a horror story.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Date published
21/10/2016
Country
Germany
Original Language
German
Publisher
Riverrun
Translator
Ross Benjamin
Translation
Translated from the German by Ross Benjamin

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