The Previous Summer and the Summer Before
650pp (185,300 words)
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