Selected press voices
Next World Novella
"an absorbing portrait of a marriage breakdown"
(Lucy Popescu, http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk, 10/12/12)
"a little gem about loss"
(Mary Costello, The Top Titles of 2012, Irish Times, 8/12/12)
"I enjoyed it enormously. It was particularly rewarding to be taken down some dark allies but to be lead out into the sun at the end. If that makes M.P. 'populist' and 'old fashioned' I rejoice in both. Reminded me of Dickens."
(Tom Alban, BBC 4, 5/12/12)
"Exquisitely translated from the German by Anthea Bell, Matthias Politycki’s novella is a literary lovesong, where the boundaries between dream and reality, between this world and the next, are constantly being rewritten."
(Olivia Heal, http://oliviaheal.com, 15/1/12)
"A heartbreaking tale of loss which then goes on to deliver a horse-strength kick in the face. I will say no more but to exhort you to investigate Peirene and buy the book."
(Nick Lezard, The Guardian, 27/12/11)
"Next World Novella is awarded the Lizzy’s 2011 so-good-I-read-it-twice-award."
(Lizzy Siddal, http://lizzysiddal.wordpress.com, 19/12/11)
"Cunning and gripping (...) A vertiginous story of a life reviewed and revised with trap-door surprises that make it a good companion for Julian Barnes"
(Boyd Tonkin, The Independent, 25/11/11)
„A suspenseful (...) thought-provoking read, I wish it had been longer! In a practical sense, it made me never want to smell cut flowers again, and I certainly will make sure my pathetic short stories are password-protected.“
„This is a book that I almost found unbearably sad (...) and yet its written with such control, minimalism and understated raw emotion it’s a compelling and masterly piece of writing all in one, in fact credit must do to the translator Anthea Bell too for managing to keep all this in, all in under 140 pages. (...) I don’t think I have ever read a novel before where a dead character, unless relating the tale from heaven or some such, can take so much control of a piece of fiction or be such an impressive force and shadow over every page. As gripping as it is haunting ‘Next World Novella’ is in my mind a mini-masterpiece. I can only hope that now we have one of Politycki’s novels readily available in translation in the UK that there will be many more to follow. After all he has several other books and collections of poems that we are yet to discover here yet have sold in their hundreds of thousands in his homeland of Germany. If you are to discover one new author this year then I think Matthias Politycki would be your best bet and ‘Next World Novella’ should be added to your TBR pretty soon.“
"This is a book of contrasts, and one which is all about differing interpretations. (...) This is a clever book, short and intense, shifting in mood and tone, showing us two halves of a whole - and in more ways than one, as you'll see if you read it. It's a shared life sharply bisected, and a hard look at how we both see and delude ourselves to suit the reality we want to believe in."
(Karen Howlett, http://www.cornflowerbooks.co.uk, 5/5/11)
"Little of the acclaimed German author Matthias Politycki's work has appeared in English, although he has more than 20 novels and collections of poetry to his name. Next World Novella, Anthea Bell's deft and superbly readable translation of Jenseitsnovelle, is a welcome corrective, and demonstrates just what English-speaking readers have been missing. In 140 taut, compelling pages, it tells the story of Hinrich Schepp (...). Few men will follow the unravelling of Hinrich's self-image without a twinge of self-recognition, while the sense of loss evoked in the opening pages unfolds into a profound sadness. A metatextual playfulness breathes light and humour into this sober meditation on identity, bereavement and the possibility of an afterlife. Inventive and deeply affecting, this remarkable fiction lingers in the mind long after the last page has been turned."
(Chris Schüler, The Independent, 26/4/11)
"A terribly impressive thing, an unrelenting look at relationships within a novella of ideas that leaves you thinking and turning the book over in your head for some time afterwards."
(Katy Derbyshire, http://lovegermanbooks.blogspot.com, 31/3/11)
„Matthias Politycki’s prize-winning Jenseitsnovelle, published to acclaim in Germany in 2009, is available now in Anthea Bell’s excellent translation. An author known for his literary novels of social commentary, essays and volumes of poetry (his latest a homage to the pubs of the East End of London), he proves adept at the novella, too. (...) This is a tale of a marriage gone awry and the potential loneliness of cohabitatio (...) – but Matthias Politycki leavens his grim tale with playful teasing of his reader’s expectations.“
(Rebecca K. Morrison, Times Literary Supplement, 24/3/11)
"Politycki's main protagonists interface only in writing and rewriting. Fact, fiction and memory seem ironically unstable. (...) Yet again [at the end] all we have are versions of events (...). Readers will not feel neutral at this point of the book. In the end, Politycki shows himself equally to be a reader’s writer. For what more could we wish for? A page-turning twister of a tale, playing with versions of reality, whilst its literary tentacles wrap us around in this fantastical and stylish twenty-first century exploration of nothing less than our own Momento Mori."
(Vivek Tejuja, http://thehungryreader.wordpress.com, 23/3/11)
„This is a doozy of a book. It’s intertexuality with a domestic, ceaseless swing to it. One detail cloaked in another and another and another, that one risks forgetting the truth, and even the author plays on this forgetting and manipulates it to serve his purpose. Playful and experimental without drawing too much attention to its structure, without belaboring it (...). Politycki’s novella is one of the best, most impressive, most remarkable books I have ever come across (...) – and the language, good lord, the language: it was seamless, and fluid and just right. Read the book, dammit. Yes to Next World Novella, a thousand times yes.“
(Sasha Martinez, http://silverfysh.wordpress.com, 23/3/11)
„I can’t say enough how much this book drew me in and engrossed me from the first line. (...) So often relationships seem to break down because of a lack of communication and I think this book really highlighted in a way how that can happen, and why. (...) The ending of the slim volume really hit me unexpectedly in a rather remarkable way, though of course I can’t say anything more about it here without ruining it for you! I highly recommend this book to all“
(Amy Mckie, http://amckiereads.com, 21/3/11)
„Matthias Politycki writes with a great deal of irony, a dark sort of humor which gives the novella a sense of inevitability. (...) It is unsettling. I found myself sometimes as confused as Henrich. (...) This is a highly literary, very philosophical little book which packs a big punch.“
(Caribousmom, http://www.caribousmom.com, 16/3/11)
„‘Next World Novella’ is an unsettling read (...). It’s a hard book to describe, and being a short one far too easy to reveal too much plot (not that I mind spoilers but as so much of this book is a slow exposure of the inside of a marriage it seems wrong to give away to much). I will say that the end turns everything upside down again. (...) If you come across this book please read it – it’s only short and time spent on it is time very well spent.“
(Desperate Reader, http://desperatereader.blogspot.com, 13/3/11)
„I chose to read it over three or four days to be able to better savour the choice of words and appreciate every single detail of this delicate story about the fleeting nature of life and the intricacies of relationships. And then, as you reach the last few pages and are starting to draw your conclusions, Politycki will surprise you and will make you want to start reading everything from the beginning. Under 200 pages and so much food for thought!“
(Brighton Blogger, http://bookafterbook.blogspot.com, 8/3/11)
„Next World Novella will doubtlessly appeal to other readers and even if it does not, Mattias Politycki raises many thought-provoking subjects and invites a post-read meditation.“
(E.L. Fay, http://tselfoninternets.blogspot.com, 6/3/11)
„An extraordinarily intimate tale, and yet one that could be shared by countless couples to at least some degree. (...) Powerful, poetic and dizzyingly thought-provoking, Next World Novella is very much a novel about this world, and all the versions of it.“
(Judy Darley, http://essentialwriters.com, 1/3/11)
"Next World Novella is a genuine page-turner, and the kind of book that you want to tell everyone about as soon as you’ve put it down."
(Think German, http://thinkgerman.org.uk, Feb. 2011)
„I loved Next World Novella. How it blends expectations of life, of death, of the next world, with the pitfalls of relationships, the willingness to love, but yet the failure that it can result in, the insight into the slight miscommunications we have in life, and the consequences they might have. There is so much packed into this short book, all told through the use of different perspectives, shifting realities, and yet never losing the thread that ties the whole story together. That is what makes this story so hard to summarize. All I can say is that I am left in awe of Politycki’s abilities as a writer.“
„An amazingly compelling read (...). Politycki takes the reader on a journey into the murky depths and undercurrents beneath the seemingly placid surface of this relationship, exploring the deceptions and self-delusions that have kept them together. (...) Next World Novella may be a short read at 138 pages but one you'll be thinking about for a long while after.“
(Maryom, http://ourbookreviewsonline.blogspot.com, 28/2/11)
„I finished this 138-page novella in one evening and thoroughly enjoyed it. (...) There are a couple of nice twists towards the end that I won’t give away here. They contribute to the sense that this is a very carefully constructed novella (...). Still it’s a thoughtful, meditative kind of book rather than a plot-driven one. The author has a lot to say about the nature of love and relationships, and says it very effectively.“
(Andrew Blackman, http://andrewblackman.net, 28/2/11)
„The beginning of Next World Novella is especially potent (...). Yet I finished the book feeling that I hadn’t quite grasped something about it, and I can’t put into words what that might be. Next World Novella is well worth a look, though.“
(David Hebblethwaite, http://davidhblog.wordpress.com, 24/2/11)
"German author Matthias Politycki’s complex, clever and entertaining novella has been translated for the first time into English by Anthea Bell, allowing a new and wider audience to enjoy his ironic contemplation on death, marriage, misunderstanding, obsession and the transience of life. (...) Witty, perceptive and thought-provoking, Next World Novella deals with age-old themes and yet manages to be refreshingly different. Politycki handles serious subjects with a light, almost playful, touch and his delicate balancing of Hinrich and Doro’s complex relationship makes differentiating between fact and fiction an intriguing intellectual game. A teasing, testing story that makes you want to revisit and seek out those fascinating fragments you might just have missed..."
(Pam Norfolk, Pocklington Post and Lancashire Evening Post, 21/2/11)
„In this novella Politycki uses a rather ingenious set-up to explore weighty topics like marriage and death with a surprising lightness. What dialogue you might wonder is possible between a man and his wife's fresh corpse, but the surprise is not only that there is one but that it contains wit, humour and genuine bite. (...) So please don't hesitate: Peirene have brought another compelling narrative into English that demands to be read and talked about.“
(William Rycroft, http://justwilliamsluck.blogspot.com, 22/2/11)
„I didn't think I was going to like it, but as I read on I was absolutely captivated and surprised by how it turned out.“
(Verity, http://cardigangirlverity.blogspot.com, 21/2/11)
„an absorbing portrait of a marriage breakdown (...). In this elegantly realised novella, Politycki dissects a failed marriage with acute psychological insight and reminds us of how swifty a breakdown in communication can make our own and others’ existence unfathomable.“
(Lucy Popescu, The Independent on Sunday, 30/1/11)
"Politycki's ambitious novella shows there is still life in this classic genre."
(Elizabeth Powers, World Literature Today, march/april 2010)
"A page-turning pleasure (...) this novella has a supreme lightness of touch (...). It never feels weighed down by its own significance."
(Rosie Goldsmith, BBC)
"An adventure in the shadow land of self encounter from which it is difficult to re-emerge."
(Welt am Sonntag)