Lutz Seiler

Star 111

Winner of the 2020 Leipzig Book Fair Prize

Longlisted for the 2022 Prix du Meilleur Livre Étranger

Shortlisted for the 2022 Prix Femina étranger

#1 on the Spiegel Bestseller List

 

November 1989. The Berlin Wall has just fallen when the East German couple Inge und Walter, following a secret dream they’ve harboured all their lives, set out for life in the West. Carl, their son, refuses to keep watch over the family home and instead heads to Berlin, where he lives in his father’s car until he is taken in by a group of squatters. Led by a shepherd and his goat, the pack of squatters sets up the first alternative bar in East Berlin and are involved in guerrilla occupations. And it’s with them that Carl, trained as a bricklayer, finds himself an initiate of anarchy, of love, and above all of poetry.

Winner of the prestigious Leipzig Book Fair Prize and a bestseller in German already with 150,000 copies sold, Star 111, musical and incantatory, tells of the search for authentic existence and also of a family exploded by political change which must find its way back together.

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More Info

  • You can learn more about Lutz Seiler on his website (in German), here.
Print status: Available
Author: Lutz Seiler
Translator: Tess Lewis
Original language: German
Publication date: 6 September 2023
ISBN: 9781913505745
Ebook ISBN: 9781913505752
Availability: UK & C (excl Canada) and Europe

Reviews

Ángel Gurría-Quintana
Financial Times, Best Books of 2023

‘A rich, vivid tale about new beginnings and fractured utopias.’

Stuart Walton
The Hong Kong Review of Books

‘The fragmentary style of Star 111 recalls much of the later work of Grass [...] The great ingenuity of Seiler’s narrative lies in the displacement that it effects between Carl’s exploits and those of his distant parents, from whom he receives regular letters written in a floridly formal style.’

Karen Leeder
Times Literary Supplement

‘The author’s shimmering, ironic and musical prose – impeccably translated by Tess Lewis – captures a moment both archaic and profoundly real. Utopian and matter-of-fact, it is both timeless and obsessed with the minutiae of its time.’

Karen Leeder
Times Literary Supplement

‘Served by a trio of stellar translators, And Other Stories has done a great service bringing these three works into English. They will allow a new audience to enter Lutz Seiler’s haunted world and admire his singular voice in its different refractions.’

Will Ashon

‘There aren’t many books that can be cited as the missing link between Uwe Johnson’s Anniversaries and Roberto Bolaño’s The Savage Detectives, and still fewer that could live up to the comparison, but Lutz Seiler (with impeccable assistance from Tess Lewis) makes it look easy. Star 111 is a brilliant, immersive, sometimes funny, slyly moving book with a main character who walks through the new reality he finds himself in like an astronaut exploring alone beneath a strange, harsh, beautiful sun. A stellar achievement.’

Roland Bates, Kirkdale Books

‘Drawing on a history at once recent and ever more distant, Seiler's dazzling novel recounts just what must be lost for an artist to be made.’    

Christine Lecerf
Le Monde des livres

It took Lutz Seiler, born in East Germany, thirty years to give to the moment [of the Fall of the Berlin Wall] the full richness of fertile and ambiguous human experience. With its ample narrative and powerful imagination, Star 111 is the “Wenderoman” par excellence, the great novel of the “turn”, as German reunification is called.’

Frédérique Fanchette
Libération

‘The Berlin of Star 111 wakes a longing for a city like no other. You want to linger there in the squatted Assel bar where workers, hookers and departing Soviet soldiers cross paths with anarchists full of ideas.’

Cécile Dutheil de la Rochère
AOC

‘The presence of objects have is no doubt one of the most extraordinary things about Star 111. Everything is unique, everything has a price, everything is respected because it is the fruit of work or of making. Nothing is thrown away, everything kept. What if the objects have a soul? Read Star 111 (the title is the name of an East German transistor radio) and understand the real value of an object.’

Denis Scheck
SWR lesenswert

‘Lutz Seiler reaches the level of a Thomas Pynchon here. […] This is atmospherically rich, true world literature. World literature is, after all, that which lets me see the world with different eyes, which shows me a part of the world I have not seen before. And this is what Seiler manages to do in Star 111.’

Ijoma Mangold
Die Zeit

Star 111 reveals the fiery nucleus of everything political, its dual nature: the unity of poetic rapture and the mysticism of the revolution. […] Lutz Seiler has the ability to describe the ridiculous, overheated and even the unconscionable of that political romanticism without having to denounce the original impulse. That’s what makes Star 111 great literature.’

Paul Jandl
Neue Zürcher Zeitung

Star 111 is a novel full of hard-hitting, deeply moving psychology, full of scenes in which people shake the foundations of a reality that is in the process of creating new laws for itself.’

Thomas Steinfeld
Süddeutsche Zeitung

‘The [goat in the novel], the reader understands, knows neither longing nor nostalgia. The fact that the novel shares, in this regard, the view of a goat, is its last and biggest virtue.’

Jan Wiele
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

For the second time now Lutz Seiler has achieved something rather extraordinary: to talk about how one actually leads a poetic existence, a matter that is as euphoric as it is cruel, in a novel that is “accessible” in the best sense of the word.’

Jona Nietfeld
Der Tagesspiegel

‘Lutz Seiler talks about a city and a time that seemed to have been exhausted in fiction. But he creates a new fascination.’

Anja Maier
die tageszeitung

‘It has been a long time since anyone has talked about those foggy years, glossed over with garish colours by other writers scores of times, more movingly than Lutz Seiler.’


Der Spiegel

‘Seiler tells a story of freedom in a poetically-precise style.’

Helmut Böttiger
Deutschlandfunk Kultur

‘This is much more than a historical novel. It condenses an era and invokes the great panoramas of consciousness of modernity in a highly independent way.’


Bayerischer Rundfunk

‘This unexpected novel about post-reunification from the partially decayed, far from gentrified Berlin convinces with its unique atmospheric density, its gentle irony and the devotion to the matter at hand.’

Katja Weise
NDR Kultur

‘With Star 111, Lutz Seiler presents a great novel that talks enchantingly about departures and downfalls, about social utopias and societal realities, about humiliation and pride. Fascinating.’

Roland Gutsch
Nordkurier

‘What distinguishes it from the many Berlin-Reunification-books is that there is not a trace of caricature, no manipulative narrative, but still captivating entertainment.’