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Distributed for Seagull Books

The Sea in the Radio

Journal Sentences

An experimental novel that pushes the constraints of language to bear witness to the history of both Germany and the individual.

Jürgen Becker’s The Sea in the Radio is a collection of “journal sentences” divided into three sections called notebooks. In this great concert of a novel, language has been pared down to a minimum: fragments, phrases, and short sentences combine and make up a life both banal and profound. It is a life in which many of the details remain unstated or, as in miniatures, float just beyond the edges of the frame. Though at first the narrative may seem to move in a relatively harmless manner, soon enough we begin to realize that the story to be told may indeed be more unsettling than we had suspected.
 
The Sea in the Radio is a novel that bears witness not only to one’s final years but also to one’s place within history in general and Germany’s cataclysmic twentieth-century past in particular.

192 pages | 6 x 9

The German List

Fiction


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Reviews

“Gutsy, innovative, and experimental novel."

Christoph Janacs, award-winning Austrian author (praise for the original German edition)

Table of Contents

Excerpt

People sitting together. One of them gets up and goes outside. He’s got a job to do and doesn’t come back.
 
If everyone conforms to all the signals and rules, nothing can go wrong.
 
They are the smallest birds, the ones in the thorn bushes. Let her go.
 
Ever more people stream into the hall. It’s not quite full when the roof collapses.
 
At the kiosk a light still burns.
 
Another funeral. You see one another every few months, split back up then say, See you next time.
 
Someone says, for ten years now I’ve begun each day as if it were the last.
 
At the kiosk a light is always burning, even when it’s closed.
 
What does voluntarily mean when they say that the apartments have voluntarily been cleared?
 
Two fatalities, two survivors. The survivors have to figure out what kind of relationship there was between the deceased.
 
Neighbours standing together and discussing neighbours.
 
Someone told the truth and since then they have only known aggravation.
 
One game after another lost, in the end the trainer said he wanted to teach his players the meaning of politeness, tolerance, brotherly love.
 
The newspaper’s incessant sneer.
 
Now it’s dark enough. Straining our ears to hear what is outside.
 
The music doesn’t stop, and the passages are endless, as they’ve been made to be circular.
 
The stairs lead up to a ramp, but after the ramp there’s nothing.
 
He’s scribbling away. Everything crooked and canted.
 
Glass is democratic, the architect says, stone fascistic. Sea mail. The symbol for sea mail is yellow, like land mail. Airmail’s is blue. Blue like the airmail.
 
If you’re looking for the off-road vehicle, it’s in front of a stream now.
 
A moment’s wavering...but not so that later they’ll say one wavered too long.
 

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