Excerpt from Funeral for a Dog by Thomas Pletzinger, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

Funeral for a Dog

A Novel

by Thomas Pletzinger

Funeral for a Dog by Thomas Pletzinger X
Funeral for a Dog by Thomas Pletzinger
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • Paperback:
    Mar 2011, 322 pages

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
Donna Chavez

Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt

August 6, 2005
(And who exactly is Daniel Mandelkern?)

Elisabeth demanded a decision, and I left our apartment without making one. It can’t go on like this. My flight to Milan doesn’t leave Hamburg for an hour. I’m sitting alone and completely exhausted in the waiting area at Gate 8 (on the other side of the airfield, the pines on the edge of Niendorf). At Gate 7 two Italian businesswomen are joking around. I get up, I have to move so I don’t fall asleep. Somewhat farther down the corridor a newsstand: I buy a newspaper (Süddeutsche Zeitung), I buy a postcard (image: Hamburg Volkspark Stadium, aerial view, 1999), I see Semikolon brand notebooks. The only other place that carries them is a stationery store next to the Academy of Fine Arts on Lerchenfeld, which is always an all-day trip, so I buy three of them. I buy cigarettes. I’m starting to smoke again now, because smoking reduces fertility, smokers’ sperm don’t hold out as long (eventually their sperm give up). Cigarettes have gotten more expensive since my last pack. I buy coffee at a vending machine and go back to the gate, I tear the cellophane off the notebook and make a note of my fatigue and my headache. Then I make a note of the headlines in the Süddeutsche Zeitung of August 6–7, 2005:

Caesarean Risk
Craze for the Mobile Lifestyle
Air in Sunken Mini-Submarine Running Out

I’m writing because I always write when things get complicated. I’m alone, I could smoke. I could throw the notebooks into the garbage cans next to me (one red, one green, one blue, color-coded for trash separation). I should get up and go back, back to my wife.


Samsonite
How I got here: Elisabeth and I didn’t raise our voices, I left our apartment in the middle of the night and without closure (we fight in our indoor voices). Took the Svensson file from the kitchen table and carried my half-packed suitcase through the hallway, but then slammed the apartment door behind me much too hard and almost ran down the street in the light drizzle. Away from Elisabeth, the sound of the ridiculous rolling suitcase on the slabs of the sidewalk behind me is louder than expected (for your reporting trips, Elisabeth had said, putting the suitcase in my office). I turned off my phone so I could ignore her calls (she’ll want to have the last word, as always). Gave the taxi driver who took me from the Hoheluft Bridge to the airport an absurdly high tip (ransom). At the only staffed counter in the otherwise empty terminal, I opened my suitcase and buried my phone between suit and shirts (between recording device and shaver). I stuck my toothbrush in my shirt pocket. The ground personnel seemed to have been waiting for me. Milan? Yes. Identification? Herr Mandelkern? Yes. As I began to explain myself and my more-than-punctual arrival, the Lufthansa agent gave a routine laugh: as far as she was concerned, I could fold my whole life into my luggage as long as it stayed below the allowable weight limit (the scale showed 12.7 kilos). There was still a seat available on the earlier, direct flight, did I want it? Okay. At dawn I was the only passenger at the security checkpoint, I put the two folders full of research on Svensson next to my belt in the gray plastic tub. No, I said, I had nothing else with me (I had surrendered everything at check-in). The ring on my finger didn’t set off any alarm. Now I’m sitting here at six-thirty in the Hamburg Airport in the nearly empty waiting area at Gate 8, much too early, because I left our apartment in the middle of the night and without a word. I simply left.


Dirk Svensson?
I asked last Wednesday at the weekly editorial meeting, which Elisabeth leads, because the travel assignment was listed as “Dirk Svensson” on her updated monthly schedule and followed by my name. The passing thought of getting up immediately and leaving, of refusing the assignment outright.

Excerpted from Funeral for a Dog by Thomas Pletzinger, translated by Ross Benjamin. Copyright (c) 2008 by Verlag Kiepenheuer & Witsch, Köln. The translation of this work was supported by a grant from the Goethe-Institut which is funded by the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs. English translation copyright (c) 2011 by Ross Benjamin. Originally published in German under the title Bestattung eines Hundes. Used by permission of the publisher, W. W. Norton & Company, Inc.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Beyond the Book:
  The Challenges of Translation

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: And The Ocean Was Our Sky
    And The Ocean Was Our Sky
    by Patrick Ness
    Patrick Ness has developed a reputation for experimental literature executed well, and his latest, ...
  • Book Jacket: Let It Bang
    Let It Bang
    by RJ Young
    Every interracial love story is an exercise in complications. R.J. Young and Lizzie Stafford's ...
  • Book Jacket: A Spark of Light
    A Spark of Light
    by Jodi Picoult
    The central premise of A Spark of Light involves a gunman holding hostages within the confines of a ...
  • Book Jacket: An Absolutely Remarkable Thing
    An Absolutely Remarkable Thing
    by Hank Green
    As one half of the extremely popular YouTube duo "Vlogbrothers" (the other half being his brother ...

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
Unsheltered
by Barbara Kingsolver

A timely novel that explores the human capacity for resiliency and compassion.

About the book
Join the discussion!

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    Paris Echo
    by Sebastian Faulks

    A story of resistance, complicity, and an unlikely, transformative friendship.
    Reader Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    A Ladder to the Sky
    by John Boyne

    A seductive, unputdownable psychodrama following one brilliant, ruthless man.
    Reader Reviews

Win this book!
Win Severance

Severance by Ling Ma

An offbeat, wryly funny, apocalyptic satire that is featured on more than twenty 2018 "Must Read" lists!

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

I Ain't O U T F L S

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.