Gabriele Tergit: Käsebier Conquers the Kurfürstendamm

Gabriele Tergit
Käsebier Conquers the Kurfürstendamm

fiction

400pp (79,900 words)

In six frenzied weeks, Gabriele Tergit wrote her first novel, which made her instantly famous upon its publication in 1931. KÄSEBIER EROBERT DEN KURFÜRSTENDAMM is the story of the rise and fall of Käsebier, an entertainer discovered by a newspaper reporter at a cheap variety show. Trying to make a splash among his colleagues, he turns him into a megastar. Estate agents and speculators latch onto his sudden fame, the bored ladies of polite society make pilgrimages to his shows, and Käsebier himself is relentlessly promoted.

Gabriele Tergit, a prominent female reporter of the 1920s, is both an implacably careful and sympathetic observer. The charm of her novel lies in its trenchant and highly comical dialogues as well as its precise descriptions of contemporary society – from dancing girls to master carpenters to media moguls. Her own workplace – the editorial offices of the Berliner Tageblatt's cultural section – comes under particular scrutiny. Even in those days, Berlin, deep in eastern Germany, was an ideal yet difficult city for creative people.

Rights sold

France – Christian Bourgois
Spain (Castilian) – Minuscula
US (English World) – The New York Review of Books

Book club – Büchergilde Gutenberg
Paperback – Random House / btb

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Reviews

»This novel seems fresh, bold and light-hearted in a Berlin kind of way. It draws from Tergit's experiences as a reporter, her observant look on details. KÄSEBIER EROBERT DEN KURFÜRSTENDAMM is the image of an urban society on the slide.«
Süddeutsche Zeitung

»A fast-paced urban novel about the newspaper business. (...) Although more than 80 years have passed since first publication, this novel almost reads as if it had been written today. (...) More than anything KÄSEBIER EROBERT DEN KURFÜRSTENDAMM is a novel about Berlin, about the pace of urban life and the cynicism that goes with it, about rising and falling - and about the joy to watch, to gossip and make money with it, too.«
DER SPIEGEL

»In KÄSEBIER EROBERT DEN KURFÜRSTENDAMM, set during the late Weimar period, there is more gender diversity than in Erich Kästner's Fabian and less environmental fug than in Fallada's Kleiner Mann, was nun. (...) And this is precisely why Tergit's novel, which contemporaries read primarily as a key novel, serves also as a brilliant diagnosis of its time.«
Welt am Sonntag

»You should read Gabriele Tergits novel KÄSEBIER CONQUERS THE KURFÜRSTENDAMM, first published in 1931. (…) Not without reason it is regarded as one of the most important books of the Weimar Republic.«
DIE ZEIT

»A mesmerizing book. (...) This fast-paced novel is on par with books by Hans Fallada and Erich Kästner.«
NZZ am Sonntag

»Gabriele Tergit, journalist in Berlin, described the same sensationalism, fast pace and crisis we know today. Marvelous that this big-city-novel from 1931 is now being republished! (...) The novel mocks Berlin’s society without mercy. (...) Tergit draws a portrait of Berlin that could have been written today.«
rbb

»As bold as only the Weimar Republic could be – this big-city-novel needs to be finally rediscovered. (…) More actuality, more relevance to the present can hardly be demanded of a novel. (…) Tergit's dialogues are unmasking and pointed – they rank among the strengths of her novel as well as the constantly sparkling, fast-paced language.«
Westdeutscher Rundfunk (WDR 3)

»No German-speaking journalist of the 1920s was a more meticulous observer or striking writer ... a female Alfred Polgar – but more passionate.«
FOCUS

»The author illustrates a daily newspaper’s internal procedures in brilliantly ironic dialogues full of punch lines. (...) Most outstanding is the novel’s timeless relevance.«
Frankfurter Rundschau

»A novel far more multi-faceted, perceptive and turbulent than Keun, Kästner or Fallada, who are always being lauded as mirrors of the Weimar years.«
Die Literarische Welt

»A furious social farce that, 85 years after its first publication, appears more current than ever. (...) One of the reasons for the timeless charm of Tergit's KÄSEBIER EROBERT DEN KURFÜRSTENDAMM may be the presence of several remarkably self-confident, emancipated and quick-witted women.«
Deutschlandfunk

»Tergit's plain style and the bite-sized dialogues are the novel's strong points. It rushes through the hedonistic Berlin of the thirties and right into the middle of the upper class, it's critical of the media and feminist, ironic and in impressive in a very special way. Many sentences are astonishing – because they could have been written today.«
Darmstädter Tagblatt

»Impetuously, crashing, capriciously – this is how the dialogues speed through the pages and give us wonderfully pointed insights into the various milieus and the media world of the Weimar Republic. (...) dashing and snappy.«
Börsenblatt

»In a lucid, fast paced and timeless manner, Gabriele Tergit describes the trafficking and sensationalism of Berlin’s society during the late Weimar Republic. Her debut is on par with Fallada's Kleiner Mann – was nun? and Kästner's Fabian
Tagesspiegel

»Very funny, very fast and truly entertaining.«
Hessischer Rundfunk

»KÄSEBIER CONQUERS THE KURFÜRSTENDAMM is a dazzling picture of an era that has lost nothing of it’s gripping power.«
Deutschlandfunk

»Tergits book is modern and relevant; stylistically she manages to catch the pace and superficiality of urban life. Truly masterful.«
Aachener Zeitung

More titles by Gabriele Tergit

Gabriele Tergit: The Old GardenGabriele Tergit: The Happy Gardener