Gabriele Tergit: The Effingers

Gabriele Tergit
The Effingers

fiction, new
Edited by Nicole Henneberg, first published in 1951

900pp (235,000 words)

>> A Jewish family saga from 1878 to 1948, in the tradition of »Buddenbrooks«

>> SPIEGEL Bestseller List

>> No. 10 on the Independent Bestseller List

Stretching across four generations, this modern epic follows the Effingers, a Jewish family that attains considerable wealth through hard work, good luck and talent. Beginning with the relatively comfortable life of a working family in a south German town, when Germany under Bismarck seemed to have a bright future, the novel reaches its apex in cosmopolitan Berlin in the roaring twenties, where the Effingers are leading elegant, upper-middle-class lives. Vividly detailed and true-to-life, the novel conjures up this German-Jewish world for the reader, a world sustained and populated by a cast of distinctive, carefully drawn characters, like the intelligent and very modest Paul Effinger or the artistically gifted, graceful but naïve Sofie Oppner. Yet, like so many other families, the Effingers were ultimately torn apart by the devastating currents of history: the horrors of the twentieth century, its two world wars, proved their undoing.

It’s hard to believe that Gabriele Tergit, the famous journalist and writer of the Weimar Era, struggled to find a publisher for the novel after the Second World War. Evidently many people found the material too controversial so soon after the Holocaust. Yet this book is neither a lament nor an accusation; its insight and diversity of voices make The Effingers a masterpiece, full of humour, quick dialogue, poetic sensitivity and profound human empathy.

Rights sold

The Netherlands – Van Maaskant Haun

book club – Büchergilde Gutenberg
paperback – Random House / btb

film rights – optioned

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Reviews

»A splendid, life-affirming, optimistic and deeply distressing panopticon of Jewish Germany that has to find and keep its permanent place in the German canon.«
Volker Weidermann, LiteraturSPIEGEL

»What a novel! A tribute to the lost German-Jewish homeland, wrested from bitterness, yet with tentative hope for a common future - in spite of everything.«
Erhard Schütz, Die Welt

»Tergit writes with lightness and musicality, with a good ear for how people talk, and a
fine, deeply human wit. (...) A book to make your heart jump.«
Juliane Liebert, DIE ZEIT

»A panoramic German-Jewish novel between Fontane and Thomas Mann! […] Enthralling! Read it!«
Volker Weidermann, ZDF, »Das literarische Quartett« (TV)

»It's a scandal that this book has not yet become an integral part of the German literary canon.«
Thea Dorn, ZDF, »Das literarische Quartett« (TV)

»A vanished world captured for the next generation. (...) Definitely recommended!«
Dorothee Wahl, Frankfurter Rundschau

»This wide-ranging book is astonishing, courageous and significant.«
Axel Eggebrecht, Nordwestdeutscher Rundfunk

»Admirably impartial.«
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

»There is no other novel that preserves the lost Berlin and the world of its Jewish population like THE EFFINGERS. It is of a disturbing truthfulness.«
Jens Bisky, Süddeutsche Zeitung

»The city's rapid transition from 1880 to World War II rarely becomes as vivid as in this book.«
Sabine Rohlf, Berliner Zeitung

»THE EFFINGERS is a beguiling and sensual novel which captivates, above all, through its atmospheric density and cultural-historical perspective.«
Oliver vom Hove, Der Standard

»The feminist Buddenbrooks.«
Axel Brüggemann, Jüdische Allgemeine

More titles by Gabriele Tergit

Gabriele Tergit: The Old GardenGabriele Tergit: The Happy GardenerGabriele Tergit: Käsebier Takes BerlinGabriele Tergit: Something Altogether Rare