The Film Explainer

Trade Cloth – $33.00

ISBN 978-0-8101-1293-3
Format Unavailable
Publication Date
June 1996
Page Count
250 pages
Trim Size
5 1/2 x 8 1/2

The Film Explainer

Gert Hofmann

It is the early 1930s in Limbach, an industrial village suffering from the depression. Karl Hofmann narrates silent movies at the local cinema. The job pays poorly and is largely unnecessary, as the films have subtitles and the crowds are small, but Karl sees himself as an artist: he is convinced only his explanation will make the movies accessible to the ever-shrinking audience. When the "talkies" arrive and he loses his job after a quarrel with the Jewish theater owner, Karl loses his sense of purpose and joins the Nazi Party--the first step toward his horrible end.

About the Author

Michael Hofmann was born in 1957 in Freiburg, Germany, and came to England in 1961. He has published four volumes of poems and won a Cholmondeley Award and the Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize for poetry. His translations have won many awards, including the Independent's Foreign Fiction Award, the IMPAC Dublin Literary Award and the P.E.N./Book of the Month Club Translation Prize. His reviews and criticism are gathered in Behind the Lines (2001).

"In his translation of the child's-eye view of a flawed, exasperating patriarch, the son has captured perfectly the sardonic economy of his father's prose, the malign comedy of his trouble, troubling vision." --The Times
"Magically evocative, brilliantly described. The Film Explainer is extraordinarily moving both as autobiography and atmospheric memoir." --Independent

"A sharp, deft, luminous portrait . . . The Film Explainer is one of those subtly acidic novels which first makes you laugh and then burns holes in your head. Hofmann's writing is endlessly funny and true, noisy with human weakness, and so seamlessly translated . . . that some of its shivery lyricism seems created for this work alone . . . Infinitely more than the sum of its parts." 

The Observer