by Hermann Burger
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Pub Date 5 Jul 2022 | Archive Date 5 Jun 2022
Appearing in English for the very first time, Brenner is a delightfully unusual novel full of dark humor tracing the childhood memories of the book's eponymous narrator, a scion of an ancient cigar dynasty.
Perpetually shrouded in a thick cloud of cigar smoke, Herman Arbogast Brenner, scion of an old and famous cigar dynasty, has decided to kill himself––but not until he has written down his forty-six years of life, in a Proustian attempt to conjure the wounds, joys, and sensations of his childhood in the rolling countryside of the Aargau region of Switzerland.
Estranged from his wife and two children, he decides there is no point in squirrelling away his fortune, so he buys himself a Ferrari 328 GTS, and drives around sharing cigars with his few remaining friends.
In this roman à clef, writing and smoking become intertwined through the act of remembering, as Brenner, a fallible, wounded, yet lovable antihero, searches for epiphany, attempting to unearth memories just out of reach, which spring forth from memories of a red toy car, the sound of a particular chord played on the piano, or the smell of the cigars themselves.
Brenner is the final work from Hermann Burger, who died by suicide in 1989. The book publishes days before what would have been the author’s 80th birthday.
Average rating from 2 members
Loved reading this book. The book doesn't paints the titular character in some positive ray of light but paints him as a human being morally grey. The story charts his highs and lows and his childhood days to track his life to conclude what he is and how he is in the present moment. It is also a desperate attempt by the protagonist to relive or feel the emotions of the wonderful moments that he has lived in life, to make sense of some of them and looking for a some sort of closure before his life ends.
Beautiful and poignant. Wrought with dry humour and quite melancholic at times, this is a book I'd recommend.
What a georgous cover!!
Hermann Burger is one of the greatest authors of the German language and this book is translated to English for the first time. Herman Arbogast Brenner, heir of a grand family decides to kill himself (The author of book also died by suicide) but first have to write his life story. To me it feels, in this book Burger is writing about himself, his own suffering in life.