New Directions Publishing Corporation, 9780811215022, 266pp.
Publication Date: June 30, 2002
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The mother sits in her room, squirting herself with perfume, waiting for her new man to arrive and her old one to go. Everyone makes their own luck in this life! she tells her children. The father sits in his room, planning another novel. Why doesn't his writing sell? Is it just bad luck? Thomas Mann's first book was rejected five times, after all. When he takes his son for a walk, the townspeople wish them all the luck in the world. We'll see about that! he says. The little sister is the lucky one: she gets to stay at home. Then again, the son won't have to put up with Herr Herkenrath's annoying habits and his smelly feet. So maybe he's lucky to be going.
But will they really leave for Russdorf? Or is it Berlin? Or Africa? Or will Father manage to win Mother round at the very last minute?
Only time will tell, but time is running out. The moving van is on its way.
Soon Herr Herkenrath will arrive and the whole family will sit down for the last time to coffee and crumb cake. But maybe, with any luck, Herr Herkenrath will choke on the crumbs. A child's-eye view of a family in decline, Gert Hofmann's Luck mixes humor and suspense with a heartbreaking pathos.