Book recommendation – Walter Kempowski’s Did You Ever See Hitler?

A book recommendation from Lev Raphael over at The Huffington Post. What is funny is that when I tried getting more information on him – Das Echolot: Barbarossa ’41: Ein kollektives Tagebuch looks interesting (Sonar: Barbaross ’41: A collective diary) – I also came across Es Liegt Mir Auf Der Zunge: Geschichten mit Geschmack (It Lies on My Tongue: Stories with Taste.)*

* Sorry if I didn’t do it justice; my translation. I am reasonably sure that I got the gist of the title, although I can’t be sure if it’s a book of food criticism/culture/history or if it’s a book of stories. Die Geschichte can mean  either history or story. I took German in college and took a year to study biochemistry at the then-called Technische Hochschule Darmstadt. Alas, I learned German the hard way, just by talking when I can. As I hear it, having a girlfriend whose first language is what you are interested in learning helps immensely.

Yes, we did read Guenter Grass (and Kafka, and Mann) in the German literature course I took. Even more so than my graduate thesis advisor, I looked upon my German professor as a mentor. I think he was relatively impressed with how quickly I took to the language. Sadly, this was at an engineering school; the non-engineering majors they offered were biochemistry and biotechnology. Just joking, but nearly true (mathematics and physics were also offered.) This is more information that suggests I should have gone into Literature or History.

Looking up more information about these books, I came upon a surprisingly amount of German erotica (Dann zerteilt meine Zunge deine wunderbare Pflaume und ich lecke dich tief und drängend.) Regardless, I can go to Schoenhof’s Foreign Books – but alas, the online catalog shows that they stock only Kempowski’s biography .

  1. Es liegt mir auf der Zunge is an idiom:

    “it’s on the tip of my tongue.”


    • Notimetoread said:

      Ha, that was my gut reaction, but I thought it couldn’t have hurt to make a literal translation. 🙂

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