Franziska Gerstenberg: Gifts Like These

Hermann Hesse Award for Emerging Talent

Franziska Gerstenberg
Gifts Like These


248pp (65,000 words)

English sample translation (pdf)

Franziska Gerstenberg’s portrayal of the everyday life of young people is personal and often indiscreet. In a strikingly dispassionate tone she puts words to their smallest gestures and surface realities. But never does she expose them to ridicule. On the contrary, she protects their dignity from the judgment of her readers, who know well that it is them who are being portrayed.

Gerstenberg’s language is flawless, her characters complex and always authentic. She moves between the laconic and the sensual, between reticence and passion, and her cool and precise language fires the imagination of her readers.

»This author’s stories belong to the best of those of recent years. Everything about Franziska Gerstenberg’s stories is right, because she is a flawless storyteller.«

Rights sold

Hungary - L'Harmattan Könyvkiadó

Previously published (rights reverted)
The Netherlands – Vrij Nederland (first serial)
US – Words Without Borders (first serial)
paperback – Random House/btb
audio book – Eichborn/LIDO

» Contact:


»Poetic snapshots of desire and longing (...): SOLCHE GESCHENKE gives a voice to one particular attitude of life that is not easily forgotten.«
Hannoversche Allgemeine Zeitung

»A literary marvel. Franziska Gerstenberg has created striking characters, who stand like victors even in the face of failure, none of them a loser.«

»Blissfully brilliant. 14 stories (...) that once more prove this author’s exceptional talent.«
Hannoversche Neue Presse

»A recommended read: Franziska Gerstenberg’s densely physical stories.«
Elmar Krekeler, DIE WELT

»A unique narrative voice. She tells stories about the trivialities of life, subtly introducing her themes until suddenly revealing the delicate threads – or the heavy ropes – that our lives hang on.«
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

»No one is left untouched by these stories. Their matter-of-fact approach in the handling of emotional issues is staggering, yet they allow plenty of room for imagination.«
Neue Zürcher Zeitung

»Daring, intimate, almost indiscreet insights into the lifes of a young generation that is highly responsive to their environment.«
Neues Deutschland

»Delicate portraits of young people and their everyday demons: eating disorders, the obsession with beauty, anxiety about the future.«

»Franziska Gerstenberg has a great feeling for situations, able to catch them in just a few words. Eloquent and elegant, she leads her protagonists right into the danger zones within their everyday. (...) Her knowledge of human nature is amazing.«
Stuttgarter Zeitung

»There are farewell gifts and reconciliation gifts, gifts wished for and gifts entirely forgettable. (...) How a gift may restore a relationship, and how to accept the gifts that life brings, Gerstenberg tells with great empathy.«
Berner Zeitung

»Characters struggling against the daily pains, trying to keep their balance. Despite all concerns, most of them emerge as winners.«

»Franziska Gerstenberg writes masterful stories. From their overall tone down to the immaculate interpunctuation, everything is perfectly balanced, generating an immediate appeal.«

»Franziska Gerstenberg is able to render people and places so vividly as though we were standing close by, watching and listening without feeling like intruders. Now and then we may catch one of her clear, lucid thought, wanting to treasure it forever. (...) Her strenghth lies in her precise portrayal of characters, never gossipy, never redundant.«
Sächsische Zeitung

»Intimate stories, yet always respecting their protagonists, however peculiar they may appear. Gerstenberg’s variety of subjects and her empathic style make her stories well worth reading.«

»Gerstenberg’s texts are characterised by her fine sense of details.«
Südwest Presse

»Gerstenberg gets right to the emotional core. (...) Her characters possess authenticity and und self-confidence, even though they seem to balance on life’s edge.«
Stuttgarter Zeitung

»Franziska Gerstenberg convincingly boils down big issues into 14 wonderful stories. (...) Her texts revolve around the breaking down of old patterns and structures, revealing her astonishing knowledge of human nature. (...) We hope to read many more books by this author in the near future!«
Frankfurter Rundschau

»A truly absorbing study of the hopes and fears hidden so often beneath the humdrum surface of daily life. (...) Lost youth and unachieved ambitions - these indeed are the predominant themes. Yet behind them lies an overriding sense of survival and perseverance which leaves the reader with a paradoxical feeling of hope.«
New Books in German

Reviews from abroad

»Gerstenberg’s stories work like earth plate motions, starting off seemingly motionless only to be suddenly shifted. They leave you wanting only one thing: more of them.«
Vrij Nederland

More titles by Franziska Gerstenberg

Franziska Gerstenberg: How Many BirdsFranziska Gerstenberg: Play with HerFranziska Gerstenberg: So Long Ago, Hardly True AnymoreFranziska Gerstenberg: Although Everything is Over