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GoetheInstitute

19/09/2007

Katja Lange-Müller's novel "Angry Sheep"

Katja Lange-Müller: Angry Sheep
(Böse Schafe)
Novel
Hardcover | 200 pages | ISBN 9783462039146 | August 2007 | Verlag Kiepenheuer & Witsch

English excerpt

The book: West Berlin in 1987: Soja, a trained typesetter, refugee from the GDR and occasional florist with a big heart, meets Harry, a tall, free, quietly determined man with an unfathomable past and a sombre future – and henceforth they share each others fates.
Years later, all that’s left is an exercise-book with undated entries, eighty-nine sentences, to be precise, in which Harry wrote down what was on his mind while he was with Soja. Many topics are mentioned, one is missing: Soja. She sets out for the task of telling their mutual story and filling the blank spot which was left behind by Harry. She remembers the man who impresses her with his decidedness and wins her heart with a childlike kiss – and whom she tries to court from then on with all her might and against all reason.
In spite of his taciturnity, Harry gives away some information: ten years in prison after an armed robbery, released on probation, violated terms of probation when giving up on his drug therapy, in need of a new type of care, otherwise immediate threat of new term in jail. And this doesn’t make Soja angry, but gets her going instead: She organizes a new therapy, obliges her few friends to support this with complete, uninterrupted assistance, but still ignores all the hints that Harry concealed a number of things from her. And indeed, it does not take very long before the next bomb goes off.
With this long-expected novel, Katja Lange-Müller reaches out for the reader’s heart: With fine empathy, gruff humour, and an underlying tone of melancholy she tells us how an unhappy love affair can be the happiest time in somebody’s life.


© Jürgen Bauer© Jürgen Bauer
The author: Katja Lange-Müller was born in 1951 in East Berlin, where she was expelled from one school for her 'un-socialistic behaviour'. She worked for four years at the East-Berlin newspaper Berliner Zeitung , followed by six years of care-work in women’s psychiatric wards in Berlin, before she went to Leipzig to study literature at the Johannes R. Becher Institute. There followed séjours in Mongolia where she studied and also worked at the Wilhelm-Pieck carpet factory in Ulan-Bator. In 1984 she crossed to West Berlin and Berlin remains her home today. She has won some of the major German literary prizes including the Ingeborg Bachmann Prize, the Alfred Döblin Prize and the Kasseler Literature Prize (awarded for grotesque humour).

Previous works include:
"Kaspar Mauser. Die Feigheit vorm Freund" (1988); "Verfrühte Tierliebe" (1995); "Die Letzten" (2000); "Die Enten, die Frauen und die Wahrheit" (2003) – all Verlag Kiepenheuer & Witsch.

Translated editions of her work are published by:
Adriana Hidalgo Editora (Argentina), Wereldbibliotheek (Netherlands), Amphora (Russia), Litopys Publishing House (Ukraine)

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