Thoughts on Among the Bieresch by Klaus Hoffer

Sometimes, when I am reading a book that I know I will want to write about, my thoughts about the work at hand take form in the process of reading in a manner that will later inform and direct my review. Other times, the route from reading to writing is more circuitous. I tend to take copious notes, underline and engage with my books, but, having said that, there is always the risk of failing to see the forest for the trees (or more explicitly, failing to appreciate the text for the words). Then, when I sit down to write, no matter how much I may love the work at hand, I look back over my notebook and face too many words to sift through.

BiereschAmong the Bieresch, the long-standing German cult classic by Austrian writer Klaus Hoffer is a book that threatened to undermine me, as a reviewer, with its words – words that are supercharged with meaning and reference to a broadly expanding literary and socio-economic landscape. The beauty of this book is that it works on so many levels and now, with its recent release from Seagull Books, in an animated translation by Isabel Fargo Cole, an English language audience has the opportunity to meet and explore the singular world of the Bieresch.

My review of Among the Bieresch has been published by 3:AM Magazine. I am most grateful to Tristan Foster for his wise and patient editorial guidance as I floundered, at times, in my own words.

Author: roughghosts

Literary blog of Joseph Schreiber. Writer. Reader. Editor. Photographer.

10 thoughts on “Thoughts on Among the Bieresch by Klaus Hoffer”

    1. I don’t know if you have read my 3:AM review, it won’t spoil your reading. I made the mistake of reading too closely in part because I was under a lot of stress and afraid of missing something important and also because the intertextual references are largely footnoted and I didn’t know if that was original to the German. It is not, they were added for copyright purposes, so I would suggest not fussing over them in a first read unless something strikes your fancy. The Afterword which was originally a stand alone essay is also fascinating and adds to the richness of the reading.

      I had the good fortune to be able to ask the translator about the footnotes and afterword which led to a lovely correspondence with the author himself. And of course, the editorial support for the review. I believe in this book.

      I look forward to reading your thoughts. I do hope to start a conversation about a book well overdue to make its English debut.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Wow, what a review! I could really relate to your comments on how the prospect of writing shapes your reading of a text.
    This novel sounds intriguing. I love the labyrinthine quality of wordplay in the text. It sounds like a ‘must-read’!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It is so much fun. Apart from the story itself, if you chose to wander off the path and explore some of the material that come into play, that experience is enriched in itself and then reflects back on the original!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. What an interesting review. The book sounds fascinating. Your review makes me want to reread The Castle as well; I suspect I will get more out of it this time around than I did in my callow youth.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have been rereading The Castle (a book Hoffer says he read as a travel book) and it is funny how many small things I am finding that were slipped into this novel. I do hope that interest in this book will grow – one reason I had so much trouble with the review is that, in English, there is little written about the work or its author. I often like to read an interview or something that I can reference or build upon. Nonetheless, it is wonderful to discover and, as a Seagull, it is also a finely crafted book.


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