The Bureau of Past Management

Translated by Abigail Wender

‘A novel that opens up a window. A masterpiece.’ Denis Scheck, ARD druckfrisch.

Each of us has something that feels essential to who we are. For Hans Frambach, it’s the crimes of the Nazi era, which have hurt him for as long as he can remember. That’s why he became an archivist at the Bureau of Past Management; now, though, he’s wondering if he should make a change. For his best friend, Graziela, that past was also her focal point – until she met a man who desired her. From then on, sexual pleasure became the key to her life; a concept she’s now beginning to doubt. Hans and Graziela thought the Nazi crimes were the inheritance that neither could bear, but can we really blame Nazism for everything?

Iris Hanika shows how the crimes of the Nazi era hold the Germans in their clutches to this day. Can a country manage its past, or ought we to remain helpless in the face of the horrific crimes of the Holocaust?

‘A brave account of one man’s struggle to come to terms with his nation’s past, which draws an artful distinction between memory and memorial.’ Michael Arditti

‘It’s impossible to live with this guilt. Making that so emphatically clear by means of fiction, after sixty-five years of intense debate, is this novel’s great achievement.’ Andreas Platthaus, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

  • The Bureau of Past Management
    eBook 5.99 GBP
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    1 October 2021
    9783863913267
    9783863913267
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    Novel
    B-format paperback
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    9783863913076
    9783863913076

'This lively, experimental work is a vital intervention into debates on how to expand or reinvigorate Germany’s Vergangenheitsbewältigung (‘coming to terms with the past’). Its triumph is to bring these abstract ideas to life through the subjectivity of Hans: a decent, wounded person who just wants to do the right thing.'

Exberliner

'Using a curt, slightly sarcastic style to great effect, Hanika astutely constructs a multifaceted novel using a variety of stylistic approaches and affording Abigail Wender – the attentive translator of the novel – opportunities to be inventive and witty.'

Declan O'Driscoll

'Deals with tremendous historical guilt and atrocity with depth and perspicacity, but maintains an ironic detachment that does not idealise over-insistence on remembrance. (…) The Bureau of Past Management is profound but never pretentious: Hanika resolutely refuses to offer a sermon on the failures of Germany’s “past management”, but does suggest a way forward that confronts the past instead of archiving or displaying it.'

Translating Women

'A bold and absorbing novel (…) translated sensitively by Abigail Wender.'

Irish Times

'What begins as a fairly commonplace story of midlife ennui develops into an intriguing portrait of neurosis.'

The London Magazine

'Remembrance is always a contradictory matter, as Iris Hanika makes masterfully clear in her novel.'

Neue Zürcher Zeitung

'There aren’t many novels as courageous, funny, clever and touching as The Bureau of Past Management.'

Falter

'Some reading enthusiasm seduces us into getting straight to the point. In other words: This is one of the cleverest, funniest and also linguistically impressive novels I’ve read recently!'

Financial Times Deutschland

'An author who writes with intelligence, sincerity and not the slightest intent to cause sensation.'

Der Spiegel

'Iris Hanika’s observations on our time are as caustic as they are sophisticated.'

Südwestrundfunk
Francis Nenik

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  • Journey through a Tragicomic Century
    Book 12.99 GBP
    Narrative non-fiction
    B-format paperback
    ca. 170 Seiten
    15 September 2020
  • Journey through a Tragicomic Century
    eBook 5.99 GBP
    ePub
    474.7 kB
    15 September 2020