DIE SIEBEN LEBEN DES FELIX KANNMACHER/
THE SEVEN LIVES OF FELIX KANNMACHER
Ca. 500 pp.
Autumn 2011 (new in paperback autumn 2012)
“A born storyteller and a story from Rumania. Jan Koneffke speaks of love, betrayal and death. Konef-fke’s strength is the vividness of his prose, the graphicness with which the characters and places seem to appear in the mind’s eye. (…) And because the story additionally opens a window to a foreign re-mote time, the reader does not simply close the book at the end, but is immersed in another world.” Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung
“Jan Koneffke has written a German/Rumanian history book with rare lightness that examines the complex occurrences in the country between 1935 and 2001… The novel is a successful attempt to give voice to an unknown land, a lost time and the lost life of a nice person who has been thrown off course. Jan Koneffke’s passion for storytelling is fact. We have frequently asked for a novel that combines true and invented stories illustrating the past century. This has succeeded in Die Sieben Leben des Felix Kannmacher.”
The unintentional adventures of a good-for-nothing
At a time when no one can be sure about who he really has in front of him, the hero of this novel is unsure about who he is himself: Felix Kannmacher or Johann Gottwald.
Felix Kannmacher is smuggled out of Germany in the fall of 1934 by the pianist Victor Marcu and is given a new identity in Bucharest. Under the name Johann Gottwald, he becomes the “nanny” of Marcu’s daughter Virginia, soon ingratiating himself with her through his gifts as a storyteller. When their friendship becomes closer, her jealous father fires him and Kannmacher suddenly finds himself completely alone in a foreign country. He struggles along under a false name as a waiter in Bucharest’s largest casino, travels as a translator to negotiations with Hitler and works as a secretary for the Nazis. But regardless of the identity fate has burdened him with at the moment, the tie to Virginia, who soon grows up to be a famous actress, remains a constant in his life.
“Die sieben Leben des Felix Kannmacher” is simultaneously an historical picaresque novel, a romantic love story and a touching artist’s epic. Jan Koneffke’s readers let themselves in for a highly subtle narrator who has the magical ability to turn memories into a fictional story.
English sample translation available
Rights sold to: Humanitas (Romanian)
Jan Koneffke was born in Darmstadt in 1960. He studied philosophy and German literature in Berlin and spent seven years in Rome after receiving a Villa Massimo grant. He now lives as a writer and journalist in Vienna and Bucharest. He has been awarded the Leonce and Lena Prize for Poetry, the Friedrich Hölderlin Advancement Prize and the Offenbach Prize for Literature, among others. DuMont published his poetry volume “Was rauchte ich Schwaden zum Mond” (2001), “Abschiedsnovelle” (2006) as well as the novels “Paul Schatz im Uhrenkasten” (2000), “Eine Liebe am Tiber” (2004), “Eine nie vergessene Geschichte” (2008) and "Die sieben Leben des Felix Kannmacher" (2011).