Twelve Nights

By Gerlind Reinshagen

Translated by Anthony Vivis


The Post-Apollo Press
Original Language(s)
Additional Credits
Cover art & book design by Simone Fattal
Fiction, Translation
Edition, Year
First Edition, 2005
In Print

To enter Twelve Nights, you must pass through a fractured threshold, placing one foot in lyric, the other in prose glittering with fairy tale and recent past. Ghosts are abroad; memories strike when least expected, biting like animals. These are the hopeful, forgetful times of reconstruction, where masks are exchanged, friends are mistrusted, and those who learned to survive the war betray signs of madness. “How long does misfortune slumber before it wakens?” For Reinshagen’s characters, remembrance is a heroic act. Their stories return to history its essential unreality, the inconceivable inseparable from its fact.

Gerlind Reinshagen
An important figure in contemporary German literature and performance, Gerlind Reinshagen (1926—2019) was a novelist, playwright, poet, and author of children’s books. Reinshagen was best known for her experimental radio and stage plays, which frequently focus on environmental ... Read More
Anthony Vivis
Anthony Vivis (1943-2013) was a talented writer and translator, teacher and mentor, broadcaster and an all-round man of the theatre. He was particularly concerned with postwar German and Austrian authors and playwrights. His pioneering translations and stage productions ... Read More

[L]ike W. G. Sebald, Reinshagen homes in on memory’s affinity for the visually visceral. But such searing flashes of clarity are the exception; generally, this book is as opaque, impressionistic, and poetically messy as memory itself. Readers familiar with the genre will enjoy Reinshagen as a complement to Sebald, Uwe Timm, and Gunter Grass. 

— Brendan Driscoll, Booklist


Praise for Twelve Nights

Gerlind Reinshagen, who is best known as a dramatist and writer of radio plays, reveals herself as a gifted storyteller. Her compositions are tough, purposeful, laconic. The charm of these texts lies in the tension between the austere narrative framework and the yielding, lyrical language.

— Pia Reinacher, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

Twelve Nights is a beautiful and silent book, into which you have to find your way; but once inside, the book won’t let you go until you’ve found a story of your very own.

Wiesbadener Tagblatt

At last readers of English can experience the expressiveness and descriptive powers of Gerlind Reinshagen, one of Germany’s foremost living novelists and playwrights.

— James H. Spohrer, University of California, Berkeley

Gerlind Reinshagen is a dramatist and writer of radio plays whose work has established her as an important figure in contemporary German literature and performance. In Twelve Nights, her first novel to be translated into English, Reinshagen presents twelve narratives that depict Germany both during and after World War II. Characters must deal with issues of memory, identity, trust and friendship in their attempts to deal with the rebuilding of their country. 

Translation Review

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