Hermann Bürger: Brenner Part 1 Brunsleben (Brenner)

The latest addition to my website is Hermann Bürger‘s Brenner Part 1 Brunsleben (Brenner), This is the semi-autobiographical story of Hermann Arbogast Brenner, a man who has failed at most things but is now writing a diary as he is dying of cancer. Bürger himself took his own life three days after the book was published. Hermann should have been a tobacco merchant but as his grandfather died at the wrong time, the business passed to another branch of the family. Hermann has had health issues so has drifted around and now survives on a pension from his second cousin who runs the family tobacco business. He is completely estranged from his wife, sons and siblings, whom he despises and has intellectual friends though he himself is decidedly anti-intellectual, considering reading a waste of time. His one joy is tobacco – he smokes a huge variety of cigars – but has decided to write his vaguely Proustian diary (he has never read Proust but his friends have) while driving around in a expensive sports car, visiting his friends. His diary is witty, cynical mocking as he recounts his childhood, his view on his family his country and life and, of course, tells us a lot more more tobacco than we could ever want to know.

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