Bunker by Andrea Maria Schenkel

Bunker - Andrea Maria Schenkel cover

Bunker by Andrea Maria Schenkel

German Crime fiction

Original title – Bunker

Translator – Anthea Bell

Source – Personnel copy


Andrea Maria Schenkel is probably the best known German crime writer ,translated into English .her first novel murder farm was published in German in 2006 and has since been made into a radio drama ,she has used well-known German crime  case to base her books partly on but this book is a truly fictitious crime .she has won a number of prizes for her books .She currently lives in New York .

I still have to get the Keys .They’re in the bedroom , on the bed .Back into the bunker .Damn the paraffin lamps have burnt out ,even thou I had two for each room in it .Funny ,I thought those things lasted longer .What a waste ,six lamps in three rooms .

The opening lines and why the need for lamps and to be in the bunker ?

Bunker is the tale of a kidnapping the title refers to where the woman who has been kidnapped .Monica is  being held by a kidnapper  .The book unfolds in an unusual narrative style where as opposed to a beginning middle and end to the story we see all three of these parts happen at once so the event leading up to the kidnapping of Monica ,the time she spent with the kidnapper and the rescue of her are all told in changing chapters .Monica doesn’t initially know why she has been kidnap or who could have done this to her see gets small glimpse into what has happen who the kidnapper is and maybe even why she was taken .What has happened in her past  to cause this to happen ?

I lie there on my stomach , the cold cement floor under me .A musty cellar smell .I feel awful .My arms and legs are scratched .My grazes are burning .My head aches he dragged me down to the cellar by my hair .Every root of it hurts .My mouth is dry my tongue feels thick and swollen ,glutinous saliva sticking my mouth up .

Monica describing her situation just after the kidnapping .


I really fell for Schenkel unusual narrative style in the book it remind me of the way we sometimes see crimes unfold on Tv Crime dramas especially something like CSI were the crime is shown how the crime was done and how the victim and criminal were dealt with even why the crime was done and not always in the order they happened .The setting was caught so well the room Monica was held in and the conditions she found herself in ,made my skin creep at times .I will be going back to the other books schenkel have written to find if this style she writes in is carried on in her other books .As ever Bell has done a great job on the translation .I am actually not a huge crime fiction fan but this book has gone to the top of my list of all time favourites .

Have you a favourite translated crime novel ?


German lit month 2013

I was so pleased when yesterday Caroline and Lizzy announced German lit month 2013 .this year there is a change with male and female weeks .I have been saving all my German translations since last year so have a good number built up ready for review more than I thought as I grabbed books for pictures I have nine of the books pictured already read . So here are the female books I’m hoping to review

As you see it’s a broad mix of books and as with the last two years I’m reviewing a Herta Muller .I’ve also a Christa Wolf on order from the library and hope in next few days hope to add a few more female names as Lizzy and Caroline noted last year saw more male German writers reviewed than Female I maybe didn’t help as I am more drawn to male voices and writers in my book choices as the picture of what male German books I have show


I wanted to include two by German language writers this time I haven’t review before they are Uwe Timm although not so well known in English is a huge writer in German and Peter Handke who I’m still shocked I’ve not reviewed before as his books I have always enjoyed since he wrote parts for one of my favourite films wings of desire .
What book have you in mind for German lit month 2013 ?

August 2020


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