Peter Kurzeck: The Previous Summer and the Summer Before

Peter Kurzeck
The Previous Summer and the Summer Before


650pp (185,300 words)

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Peter Kurzeck is a chronicler of the everyday, of memory and its poetic concentration. In this sense, his multi-volume autobiographical project THE OLD CENTURY is very much in the tradition of Walter Kempowski and Karl Ove Knausgaard.

THE PREVIOUS SUMMER AND THE SUMMER BEFORE flashes back to the years 1982 and 1983. It’s June, and the narrator, his girlfriend Sibylle and daughter Carina are hitch-hiking to Barjac in the south of France. Jürgen, one of the narrator’s friends, has opened a small restaurant there with Pascale. They stay for a few days, then continue to Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer. This is a book about the south, about Arles and the Camargue, with its horses, bulls, flamingos, market and sea.
A book about hitch-hiking and spending the rest of the summer in Frankfurt, about the Greek beer garden in Bockenheim, and a trip to the surrounding area. A book about fragile happiness, captured through an examination of the everyday and illuminated in Kurzeck’s unique style.

»Kurzeck’s books possess enormous power and poetry and joy in existence. No one knows how to celebrate life in its diversity, in its smallness, in its beauty, like Kurzeck. (…) Remembering, writing, repeating, he wrests everyday life away from triviality.«
Jörg Magenau, Deutschlandfunk

»There’s no doubt he’s one of the great storytellers, a chronicler of the old federal republic in the vein of Walter Kempowski, and with a fondness for digression that could be compared to Jean Paul’s.«
Sandra Kegel, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung


»Summer rain in the French countryside: Six years after his death, Peter Kurzeck’s most beautiful novel has been published.«
Tilman Spreckelsen, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

»This book is like a gentle, slow-acting drug. Its effect: the revelation of everyday beauty. «
Elke Schmitter, Der SPIEGEL

»Just open his books on any page to immerse yourself in a stream of memories that embraces the whole world.«
Jörg Magenau, Süddeutsche Zeitung

»Incredible prose. (...) Just take the long passage on the small café, constantly threatened by financial ruin, yet, for the eternity of one summer, it means the whole world. (...) It is one of the most linguistically beautiful passages I've ever read in my own language.«
Andreas Maier, Frankfurter Rundschau

»A meticulous and highly poetic personal account of life in the Eighties.«
Nico Bleutge, Neue Zürcher Zeitung

»An impressive novel fragment.«
Beate Tröger, der Freitag

»Makes you want to join in with the narrator's celebration of the summer and the south, the light and life, in a hymn-like voice, and to follow him on his journeys to the south of France.«
Beate Tröger, Südwestrundfunk (SWR2 Lesenswert)

»It’s a perpetual wondering, a perpetual remembering, a preserving and re-inventing, all in one single moment.«
Christoph Schröder, Deutschlandfunk Büchermarkt

»Full of peace, tranquility, eternity, sun and beauty.«
Andreas Maier, Die Welt

»To remember, to preserve, to stop time from passing. This is the unfinishable and never-ending project of the narrator Peter Kurzeck.«
Westdeutscher Rundfunk (WDR5)

»Kurzeck tells about the fragile happiness of a small family, captured in the eye of the ordinary.«
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»Like Marcel Proust, Kurzeck was in search of lost time, but less analytically, applying his very own technique. (…) A pleasure to read.«
Nico Bleutge, Deutschlandfunk Kultur

»Kurzeck is the Knausgård of Frankfurt-Bockenheim: talkative, unrestrained and addictive.«
Iris Radisch, Die ZEIT

»Peter Kurzeck, as he lived and wrote, a classic of his own kind.«
Gerrit Bartels, Der Tagesspiegel

»Enchantingly beautiful and with a cleverly measured surplus of unreality. Time seems to stand still during the most moving moments of this prose.«
Wiesbadener Kurier

»Kurzeck's perspective is one of curiosity and homesickness, stopping time, holding the world. There are a lot of reasons why you should read Kurzeck.«
Juliane Schindler, Zeit Magazin

More titles by Peter Kurzeck

Peter Kurzeck: As a GuestPeter Kurzeck: The Walnut Tree across from the Shop Where You Buy Your BreadPeter Kurzeck: And Where My House