Der Kaiser von China

Tilman Rammstedt

Der Kaiser von China


160 pages
First day of sale: 16.10.2008
ISBN 978-3-8321-8074-4

PDF English Sample


Novel, about 160 pages
Autumn 2008

“This novel is like a film by the Coen Brothers; one of them without too many corpses… and exhilarating in a way rarely encountered in German literature. “Der Kaiser von China” is an entertaining book, not trivial, not scurrilous, not pedantic... It is simply amazingly entertaining. Rare art.” KULTURSPIEGEL

“Tilman Rammstedt’s novel is a temple, a three-ring circus, a declaration of love to fantasy because fantasy is a declaration of love to life. A book that makes us miss our stop ... because we cannot get off, not at this tempo which thrills and carries us away, far away, and which shakes us because we are suddenly laughing until we cry while looking at the insane, deep truth behind the calligraphically adorned façade.”

“…not a sopping sad book, but a funny one, slightly despondent, insane, taunting book… ‘Der Kaiser von China’ is a requiem. That is perhaps its greatest, most secret value.” FRANKFURTER RUNDSCHAU

“A novel of lies as has not been read in a long while. Münchhausen would have been proud of Tilman Rammstedt” FOCUS

“It would be difficult to find a living German writer who knows how to tell a story in such a wonderfully laconic fashion.” WELT AM SONNTAG

“Tilman Rammstedt’s artistry is working at full speed, produces perfectly formed cascades of sentences whose accustomed harmonic syntax strangely contrasts the unaccustomed contents.”

A splendid tall tale -

Keith Stapperpfennig comes from an exceptional family. He knows little about his mother and nothing about his father. Together with his four supposed brothers and sisters he was raised by his grandfather – with always new, always younger grandmothers. Keith himself even falls in love with one of them.

The grandchildren give their grandfather a joint trip to the destination of his choice as an 80th birthday present. But when he chooses China, none of them want to accompany him – in the end Keith gets stuck with it.

He revolts for the first time in his life, blows the money for the trip and lets his grandfather strike it on his own. But then Keith gets a phone call from his youngest grandmother; his grandfather has died in the Westerwald mountain chain. He has to conjure up a story to convince his siblings that the trip to China actually took place – and invents his own China. But the more Keith gets enmeshed in his own lies, the clearer it becomes that he is not the only one who is not telling the truth.

Tilman Rammstedt has succeeded in writing an overwhelming picaresque novel, so sparkling, action-packed, and exceedingly funny that one allows oneself to be lied to with the greatest of pleasure.

Rights sold to: El Aleph (Castilian); La Campana (Catalan); Nakladatelstvi Lidove Noviny (Czech); Editions Piranha (French); Del Vecchio (Italian); Munhakdongne (Korean); Seagull Books (English); Dedalus (Turkish)

Tilman Rammstedt

Tilman Rammstedt was born in 1975 in Bielefeld and lives in Berlin. DuMont published his debut novel “Erledigungen vor der Feier” in 2003 as well as the novel “Wir bleiben in der Nähe” in 2005 and „Der Kaiser von China“ (2008) for which he received the Ingeborg Bachmann Prize. Tilman Rammstedt has received the amongst others the Open Mike award, the Rheinische Kulturförderpreis, the New York stipend of the Kulturstiftung der Länder, the Kassel Literaturförderpreis for grotesque humour and the Literaturförderpreis of the State of Nordrhein-Westphalia., the Ingeborg Bachmann-Prize and the Annette-von-Droste-Hülshoff-Prize.