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

    Genres

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
Donna Chavez
Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt



my own STORY
I’m preparing myself. The meticulous intern has compiled 90 pages of material, catalogues and reviews, as well as this children’s book (title: The Story of Leo and the Notmuch). She even printed out a city map of Lugano. There’s not one interview, no real profile, there are only brief bios and conjectures about Dirk Svensson. His book has so far sold more than 100,000 copies as of July 31, the publisher optimistically anticipates double that. The book is to be translated into at least 17 languages, despite the rhymes, even into Icelandic, an American edition is already available. It’s already a huge success. My colleague Jagla speaks of “a relevance that is rare in children’s books,” the New York Times of “fundamental accuracy of statement, rarely found in children’s literature.” Who copied whom here? On top of the stack lies a message from Elisabeth: “My Mandelkern, the story of Leo and the Notmuch. You’re meeting on Saturday in Lugano at the Riva Albertolli pier, right by the green pedal boats. The Hotel Lido Seegarten is beautiful. This is your story now. Think about it! Elisabeth.”


Think about it, Mandelkern!
She must have added the note before our fight. My Mandelkern! Think about it! 90 pages of children’s book reviews, Elisabeth’s enclosed commanding tone, an ambiguous assignment, my relegation to the countryside. Elisabeth demanded a decision, I resisted (my spitting, turning around, closing the doors). On instructions from my wife and superior, with a printed-out city map on a plane to Milan, on the way to a boat dock in Lugano, below us Niendorf and farther down Eimsbüttel and the Alster (my window and the ducking pines on the edge of the airfield, the howling takeoff, no complications). Elisabeth will be waking up now and vomiting the wine; she drinks so she can listen without correcting me. I drink so I can talk and not just have to listen; yesterday she drank more than I did. Then the clouds between us and the earth, the disappearance of the Fasten Seatbelts sign, a stewardess who’s at least sixty years old, two mineral waters for the headache. I read in the research folders: Lake Lugano is a lake in the south of the canton of Ticino, half in Switzerland and half in Italy, named after the city of Lugano, also known as Lago Ceresio, deepest point 288 meters. Hermann Hesse lived in Montagnola in the hills overlooking the lake (and who exactly is this Svensson? my wife’s large handwriting quotes me on a photocopied page). Elisabeth’s professional instructions: a profile of 3,000 words. In the roar of the airplane the small woman in front of me reads to the small boy from a book: The Story of Leo and the Notmuch, she reads, begins like this.


Who exactly is Daniel Mandelkern?
A journalist on a business trip in an airplane bathroom, his wife’s dried blood on his hands (Elisabeth, I think, Elisabeth). It confuses me that the small woman is reading Svensson’s children’s book, of all things, to the boy. I stand ducking in front of the mirror and scrutinize myself: I look tired, unshaven, and hungover, a red wine stain on my white shirtsleeve, flip-flops on my feet, my suit pants open. I ask myself in the mirror—I ask you, Elisabeth—how it could have gone this far. In the much too low-ceilinged airplane bathroom of flight LH 3920, bent over and with a forced smile, I wonder when we lost our first names. We were once able to talk to each other, we were once the same age, we once knew who we were (we were once: us).

We once knew each other, Elisabeth!

I hold my shirt up under my chin and try to get the blood off my belly and out of my pubic hair with paper towels, but the towels come apart and crumble. Your blood won’t go away. I feel the fine cut in my upper lip, the plane must already be in the airspace over Frankfurt, but the word “divorce” hangs persistently in the air (the possibility of another life). When someone knocks a second time on the bathroom door, I pull my ring off my finger and stick it in my pants pocket (E. E. E.). I roll up my shirtsleeves and brush my teeth with water (the small, pretty mother shouldn’t see the red wine).

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" articles
  • 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 $12 for 3 months or $39 for a year.
  • More about membership!

Join BookBrowse

Become a Member and discover books that entertain, engage & enlighten.

Find out more


Today's Top Picks

  • Book Jacket: African Europeans
    African Europeans
    by Olivette Otele
    The nexus of Africans and Europeans is not a recent historical development. Rather, the peoples of ...
  • Book Jacket: The Killing Hills
    The Killing Hills
    by Chris Offutt
    The personified hills of the novel's title foreshadow the mood of this brooding and ominous tale. ...
  • Book Jacket: The Vixen
    The Vixen
    by Francine Prose
    Recent Harvard graduate Simon Putnam has been rejected from grad school and has thus returned to his...
  • Book Jacket: How the Word Is Passed
    How the Word Is Passed
    by Clint Smith
    With legislatures around the U.S. rushing to ban the teaching of critical race theory, it's clear ...

Book Club Discussion
Book Jacket
The War Nurse
by Tracey Enerson Wood
A sweeping novel by an international bestselling author based on a true World War I story.

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    The Temple House Vanishing
    by Rachel Donohue

    A modern gothic page-turner set in a Victorian mansion in Ireland.

  • Book Jacket

    The Forest of Vanishing Stars
    by Kristin Harmel

    An evocative coming-of-age World War II story from the author of The Book of Lost Names.

Win This Book!
Win Gordo

Gordo by Jaime Cortez

"Dark and hilarious ... singular and soaring ... Hands down, top debut of 2021."—Literary Hub

Enter

Wordplay

Solve this clue:

N Say N

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 the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.