Paul Celan and the Trans-Tibetan Angel


By Yoko Tawada

cover image of Paul Celan and the Trans-Tibetan Angel

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A moving story about friendship, illness, and the poetry of Paul Celan, described as "bewitching" (Judith von Sternberg, Frankfurter Rundschau) and "incredibly dreamlike... a brilliant literary event" (Torsten Flüh, Night Out @ Berlin)

Patrik, who sometimes calls himself "the patient," is a literary researcher living in Berlin. The city is just coming back to life, and his beloved opera houses are open again, but Patrik cannot leave the house and hardly manages to get out of bed. When he shaves his head, his girlfriend says to him, "What have you done to your head? I don't want to be with a prisoner from a concentration camp!" He is supposed to give a paper at a conference in Paris, on the poetry collection Threadsuns by Paul Celan, but he can't manage to get past the first question on the registration form: "What is your nationality?" Then at a café (or in the memory of being at a café?), he meets a mysterious stranger. The man's name is Leo-Eric Fu, and somehow he already knows Patrik...

In the spirit of imaginative homage like Roberto Bolano's Monsieur Pain, Antonio Tabucchi's Requiem, and Thomas Bernhard's Wittgenstein's Nephew, Yoko Tawada's mesmerizing new novel unfolds like a lucid dream in which friendship, conversation, reading, poetry, and music are the connecting threads that bind us together.

Paul Celan and the Trans-Tibetan Angel