Philippe asked for some reading advice for a trip to Bavaria. This gave me the opportunity to remember several holidays around the Thumsee, near Bad Reichenhall.
German novelist Andrea Maria Schenkel was born and lives close to Regensburg in Bavaria. The novel that launched her career was « The Murder Farm (Tannöd) ». It retraces an unexplained murder in the Bavarian country side just after World War II. This short novel which I liked very much was also adapted as a movie which I have not seen yet.
I extended my search to Southern Germany. A short but very moving book is “Reunion” by Fred Uhlman, a British author born in Germany. It takes place in Stuttgart and describes the friendship between two adolescents, a Jew and an aristocrat, at the beginning of the 30s when Nazism was taking hold.
Reunion» has been adapted in an excellent movie by Jerry Schatzberg with Samuel West and Christien Anholt as the main characters. I saw it more than 20 years ago but I still remember it vividly.
Another book which I liked very much is « The Reader (Der Vorleser) » by Bernhard Schlink which is set in a city resembling Heidelberg. In parallel with a gripping love story, the novel’s core is how the German generation which grew up after the war looks at the generation which had to live and experience that period. Reading « Reunion » and « The Reader » one after the other is a fascinating experience: both novels are « bildungsroman », coming-of-age stories which portray adolescents who discover life and shape their identity as they confront events. But one takes place at the dawn of the Nazi era while the other one is set a few years after the cataclysm of World War II.
To return to Bavaria, I saw 3 years ago at Salzburg Festival Wagner’s opera « The Master-Singers of Nuremberg » and I enjoyed it very much. It is a comedy which I found much more fun than the great Wagnerian tragedies. The topic is an amateur choir. Here is a short clip.