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‘I was just a regular idiot, a nutcase, a show-off and all that. Nothing to cry about. Seriously’
Edgar W., teenage dropout, unrequited lover, unrecognized genius – and dead – tells the story of his brief, spectacular life.
It is the story of how he rebels against the petty rules of communist East Germany to live in an abandoned summer house, with just a tape recorder and a battered copy of Goethe’s The Sorrows of Young Werther for company. Of his passionate love for the dark-eyed, unattainable kindergarten teacher Charlie. And of how, in a series of calamitous events (involving electricity and a spray paint machine), he meets his untimely end.
Absurd, funny and touching, this cult German bestseller, now in a new translation, is both a satire on life in the GDR and a hymn to youthful freedom.
Ulrich Plenzdorf was born in Berlin in 1934, and studied Philosophy and Film in Leipzig. In the early 1970s, he achieved fame with the much acclaimed The New Sorrows of Young W., considered a modern classic of German literature and taught in classrooms across Germany. From 2004 onwards, Plenzdorf was a guest lecturer at the German Institute of Literature in Leipzig. An award-winning and much celebrated author and dramatist, he died in 2007.