Clemens Meyer is a leading light among young German writers. Born in 1977 in what was then East Germany, his studies at the German Literature Institute, Leipzig, were interrupted by a spell in a youth detention centre. He has worked as a security guard, forklift driver and construction worker.
He won a number of prizes for his first novel Als wir träumten (‘While We Were Dreaming’) published in 2006, in which a group of friends grow up and go off the rails in East Germany after the fall of the Berlin Wall. All the Lights was his second book, winning the prestigious Leipzig Book Fair Prize in 2008. In 2017, his novel Bricks and Mortar (published by Fitzcarraldo Editions) was longlisted for the Man Booker International Prize.
‘Take the bare prose of Raymond Carver, apply the bleak outlook of Michel Houellebecq, place characters from an Irvine Welsh book on German streets, and you have something close to this collection of 15 short stories… His tales have an evanescent, impressionistic quality… Meyer thrills and rewards.’
‘Stories of brilliance.’
‘What Meyer manages to achieve leaves you speechless. These stories glow in the world’s darkness.’
‘Clemens Meyer writes the best crafted, toughest and most heart-rending stories in Germany.’
‘Meyer tells us about people who normally are not ‘literary subject matter’ […] Respect to him. He’s the real deal. We need storytellers like him.’