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Funeral for a Dog

A Novel

Thomas Pletzinger (Author), Ross Benjamin (Translator)


“The kind of writing that makes us want to read the whole book as soon as possible; a shot of adrenaline that immediately takes us to a new world.”—David Varno, Words Without Borders

Journalist Daniel Mandelkern leaves Hamburg on assignment to interview Dirk Svensson, a reclusive children's book author who lives alone on the Italian side of Lake Lugano with his three-legged dog. Mandelkern has been quarreling with his wife (who is also his editor); he suspects she has other reasons for sending him away.After stumbling on a manuscript of Svensson's about a complicated ménage a trois, Mandelkern is plunged into mysteries past and present. Rich with anthropological and literary allusion, this prize-winning debut set in Europe, Brazil, and New York, tells the parallel stories of two writers struggling with the burden of the past and the uncertainties of the future. Funeral for a Dog won the prestigious Uwe-Johnson Prize, and critics raved: "Pletzinger's debut is a real smash hit. It's been a long time since a young German writer has thrown himself into the hurly-burly of life and literature with so much intelligence and bravado" (Wolfgang Hobel, Der Spiegel).

Book Details

  • Paperback
  • March 2011
  • ISBN 978-0-393-33725-9
  • 5.5 × 8.2 in / 336 pages
  • Sales Territory: Worldwide

Endorsements & Reviews

“Pletzinger does an admirable job of revealing intriguing characters without being heavy-handed or coy, and the story he tells is smart and well paced, no small feat considering the large scope and the messiness of the lives chronicled. It's a smart and rewarding debut marked by accomplished writing, a slick translation, and intelligent takes on the absurdities of contemporary life.” — Publishers Weekly

“In addition to being compelling on structural and philosophical levels, Funeral for a Dog is damn good on a line-by-line basis. Pletzinger’s writing (and Ross Benjamin’s translation) is graceful and evocative. Mandelkern’s voice is great, Svensson’s sections are sharp. It’s clear why this won the Uwe Johnson Prize and why Pletzinger is considered to be one of the most promising German writers of his generation.” — Chad Post, Quarterly Conversation

“Thomas Pletzinger’s Funeral for a Dog is a formally innovative, rigorously intellectual novel that also happens to be extremely funny and tender. Another way of saying this is that it’s the rare experimental novel that, astonishingly, does not have its head up its own ass. Pletzinger has looked at the United States just as hard as he’s looked at everything else, and allowed me to see my own country in a new way.” — Tom Bissell, author of Extra Lives: Why Video Games Matter

Funeral for a Dog is an unalloyed delight. If Thomas Pletzinger’s ballsy novel is any indication, things are happening in German fiction right now that we owe it to ourselves to pay attention to.” — John Wray, author of Lowboy

“An incredibly moving, fascinating and original novel. We are looking at a young novelist who is going to make an amazing mark on not only German literature, but on world literature. I can’t praise it enough.” — Gerald Stern, National Book Award-winning poet

Funeral for a Dog bristles with wit and intellectual ferocity: a comic novel full of insights into the predicaments of our age. Like Etgar Keret or Haruki Murakami, Pletzinger has found a translator who bridges the distance between two languages and almost makes it disappear. He should win a large, and devoted, American readership.” — Jess Row, author of the Train to Lo Wu

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