Berlin Noir

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Pub Date: 05/07/2019

Pages: 288

Trim: 5 x 8

Publisher: Akashic Books

Imprint: Akashic Books

ISBN 13: 9781617756320

ISBN 10: 1617756326

Price: $15.95 / $20.99 CAN

Category: FICTION / Mystery & Detective / Collections & Anthologies

Berlin Noir

By Thomas Wörtche, Rob Alef, Max Annas, Zoë Beck, Katja Bohnet, Ute Cohen, Johannes Groschupf, Kai Hensel, Lucy Jones, Robert Rescue, Susanne Saygin, Matthias Wittekindt, Ulrich Woelk, Michael Wuliger, Miron Zownir

Price: $15.95



About the Book

"A volume of short stories that revolve around the history, geography and literary traditions of Berlin."
--New York Times Book Review, "Globetrotting," April 2019

"The 13 stories in this welcome entry in Akashic's noir series, all set in 21st-century Berlin, are less about traditional crime and more likely to involve gentrification, immigrants, or Airbnb...There's more than enough variety to entertain most readers."
--Publishers Weekly

"A city with a rich noir past looks beyond its history to an equally unsettling present...Wörtche keeps his promise to show Berlin as 'always moving forward in the present' in this determinedly contemporary but genuinely noir collection."
--Kirkus Reviews

"Dora" by Zoë Beck selected as Robert Lopresti's Best Mystery Story of the Week

Akashic Books continues its award-winning series of original noir anthologies, launched in 2004 with Brooklyn Noir. Each book comprises all new stories, each one set in a distinct neighborhood or location within the respective city.

Brand-new stories by: Zoë Beck, Ulrich Woelk, Susanne Saygin, Robert Rescue, Johannes Groschupf, Ute Cohen, Katja Bohnet, Matthias Wittekindt, Kai Hensel, Miron Zownir, Max Annas, Michael Wuliger, and Rob Alef. Translated from German by Lucy Jones.

From the introduction by Thomas Wörtche:

Berlin does not make it easy to write noir fiction--or perhaps Berlin makes it too easy. Noir tradition casts a long, influential, and even daunting shadow. Alfred Döblin's and Christopher Isherwood's works, some of Bertolt Brecht's plays, the Morgue poems by Gottfried Benn, M by Fritz Lang, and many other narratives from the first third of the twentieth century, all of which are tinged with noir, set high intellectual standards, and literary and aesthetic benchmarks that are hard to surpass...

Neither Döblin nor Benn, Brecht nor Lang, catered to any crime fiction traditions. They merely steeped their literary projects in a great deal of noir. And so it is with most of the stories in our anthology: they do not necessarily follow the usual patterns of crime fiction, but regard noir as a license to write as they wish, a certain way of approaching the city, and a prism through which its nature is viewed...What's left is history. It is omnipresent in Berlin at every turn; the city is saturated in a history full of blood, violence, and death.

About the Book

Now, Berlin's noir tradition--fueled by history, geography, and various literary traditions--adds up to a powerful volume of riveting short stories.


Thomas Wörtche, born in 1954, is a literary scholar, critic, and was director of several crime fiction publishing imprints. He is currently responsible for a crime line with Suhrkamp Verlag. He lives in Berlin.Rob Alef, born in 1965 in Nuremberg, is a freelance legal historian. He writes satirical texts for taz and other newspapers. He is the author of several highly acclaimed crime novels inspired by Berlin's mad everyday life, featuring elements of horror and fantasy and a hint of the grotesque. His most recent publication was Immer schön gierig bleiben (2013). Alef lives in Pankow, Berlin.Max Annas was born in 1963 in Cologne. He is a journalist, film critic, nonfiction author, and novelist. With his three award-winning novels--Die Farm, Die Mauer, and Illegal--he has developed a distinctive voice and is widely regarded as one of the finest German-language crime fiction writers. His latest thriller is called Finsterwalde (2018). After many years in South Africa, he now lives and works in Berlin.Zoë Beck, born in 1975, writes, translates, and manages the CulturBooks publishing house together with Jan Karsten. She studied English and German literature in Giessen, Bonn, and Durham. Subsequently, she was a creative producer for international TV films. Since 2004 she has been an editor, dialogue writer, and director for dubbed productions. Many of her novels have won awards and have been translated into several languages. She is one of most celebrated German-language crime fiction writers. Her most recent novel is Die Lieferantin (Suhrkamp, 2017).Katja Bohnet, born in 1971, studied film theory and philosophy. She has traveled widely and has had many jobs, living for a long time in Berlin, Paris, and the United States before moving to the countryside. She is a former TV presenter and author. Since 2012, she has been a full-time writer. Messertanz was her first, highly acclaimed crime novel. Her most recent is Kerkerkind (2018).Ute Cohen, born in 1966, studied linguistics and history in Erlangen and Florence. She is a former management consultant for a company in Düsseldorf and Frankfurt, and has worked for an international organization in Paris. Since 2003, she has worked in concept development, customer communication, and journalism for various media. Her debut novel was the psychological thriller Satans Spielfeld (2017). Cohen lives in Berlin.Johannes Groschupf, born 1963 in Braunschweig, studied German philology, journalism, and American studies in Berlin. He works as a freelance journalist for Die Zeit, F.A.Z., Tagesspiegel, and Berliner Zeitung, among others, and has traveled widely throughout the world. After a helicopter crash in the Sahara, he wrote the NDR radio feature Der Absturz in 1999 based on this experience, for which he received the Robert Geisendörfer Prize. He is an award-winning young adult novelist and thriller writer. His most recent book is Lost Girl (2017). He lives and works in Berlin.Kai Hensel, born in 1965, is a copywriter and comedy writer for television. He has written screenplays for numerous television films and series and three feature films. With Klamms Krieg and Welche Droge passt zu mir? he became one of the most performed playwrights, and his plays have been translated into thirteen languages. He has been awarded the German Short Crime Award, the German Youth Theatre Prize, and the Schiller Memorial Prize. His second novel, Sonnentau, was short-listed for the Friedrich Glauser Prize for best crime novel of 2015. His latest crime novel is Bist du glücklich? (2016). Hensel lives in Berlin.Lucy Jones was born in England and has lived in Berlin since 1998. She studied German, film, and applied linguistics in the UK. Her translations include works by Annemarie Schwarzenbach, Silke Scheuermann, and Brigitte Reimann; she also writes book reviews of German literary fiction, coruns the translators' collective Transfiction, and hosts a reading series called the Fiction Canteen. Her own writing has been published by Pigeon Pages and SAND in Berlin.Robert Rescue, born in 1969, is a writer, reader, and (founding) member of various public reading platforms, including the fabulous Brauseboys. He has given countless live performances and has published numerous short stories and other work since 1995. He is also a novelist. His latest publication is Das ist alles eins zu eins erfunden (2017). Rescue is a chronicler of the district of Wedding, where he lives and works.Susanne Saygin, born in 1967, has a doctorate in medieval history. She has spent long periods in the UK, Italy, and the United States, working various jobs in university administration and at PR agencies. Her debut thriller, Feinde (2018), is a novel about modern-day slavery in Germany. She lives and works in Berlin.Matthias Wittekindt, born in 1958 in Bonn, studied architecture and has worked in that field in Berlin and London. He also studied philosophy of religion. He is a theater director and has written numerous scripts for television films, radio plays, theater plays, and TV documentaries. He has published four excellent novels to date. His most recent work is Der Unfall in der Rue Bisson (2016).Ulrich Woelk, born in 1960, grew up in Cologne. He studied physics and philosophy and earned a doctorate in physics. He is an award-winning novelist (including crime novels) and a playwright. He also writes short stories and nonfiction, and is at the forefront of German contemporary literature. His most recent book is Nacht ohne Engel (2017). He lives and works in Berlin.Michael Wuliger was born in London in 1961. Until 2015, he was the features editor of the Jüdische Allgemeine newspaper. He is the author of the nonfiction book Der koschere Knigge: Trittsicher durch die deutsch-jüdischen Fettnäpfchen (2009), essays, and columns. Wuliger lives in Charlottenburg, Berlin.Miron Zownir was born in 1953 in Karlsruhe to German-Ukrainian parents. Since the midseventies he has lived and worked as a photographer, director, and writer in Berlin, New York, Los Angeles, London, and Moscow. His existentialist black-and-white photographs have been published and shown in numerous photo books and exhibitions. He is the author of crime novels, short stories, and poetry. His latest publication, cowritten with Nico Anfuso, is Pommerenke: Ein True-Crime-Roman (2007).