Schadenfreude, A Love Story

Schadenfreude, A Love Story

Me, the Germans, and 20 Years of Attempted Transformations, Unfortunate Miscommunications, and Humiliating Situations That Only They Have Words for

Book - 2017 | First edition.
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You know that feeling when you catch the elevator but don't hold it for the person behind you? Seeing Lindsay Lohan in handcuffs? Donald Trump being attacked by a bald eagle? There's a word for this mix of malice and joy, and the Germans (of course) invented it. It's schadenfreude, deriving pleasure from others misfortune, and with Slate columnist Rebecca Schuman the Teutons have a blast at her expense.Schadenfreude, A Love Story is the tale of a teenage Jewish intellectual who falls in love. In love with a boy (who breaks her heart), a language (that's nearly impossible to master), a culture (that's nihilistic, but punctual) and a landscape (that's breathtaking when there's not a wall in the way). Rebecca Schuman was just your average 90's teenager with a passion for punk rock and Ethan Hawke circa Reality Bites until two men walk into her high school Political Science class: Dylan Krieger, with deep blue eyes, and an even deeper soul, and Franz Kafka, hitching a ride in Dylan's backpack. These two men are the axe to the frozen pond that is Rebecca's soul, and what flows forth is a passion for all things German. Blue eyed Dylan might leave the second a more popular girl looks his way, but Kafka is forever, and in pursuit of this elusive love Rebecca will spend two decades stuttering and stumbling through broken German sentences trying to win over a people who couldn't, on the surface, care less. She smokes endless hand rolled cigarettes in fleabag hostels, squats in an abandoned East German factory loft with angry roommates, and plunges down the rabbit hole of acedmia in pursuit of a PhD in German until she realizes that maybe the greatest challenge of her life is not to become German, but learning to embrace all the reasons why she never would be.At once a snapshot of a young woman finding herself, and a country slowly starting to stitch itself back together after nearly a century of war (both hot and cold), Schadenfreude: A Love Story is an exhilarating, hilarious, and yes, maybe even heartfelt addition to the expat canon.
Publisher: New York : Flatiron Books, 2017.
Edition: First edition.
ISBN: 9781250077578
Branch Call Number: 070.92 Schum
Characteristics: 274 pages ; 22 cm


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Cynthia_N May 17, 2017

Rebecca decides that she loves Kafka based on the opinions of her high school boyfriend. She then proceeds to base her life on her second hand opinion. She majors in German in college, she spends a summer and a semester abroad. The book is based on her life adventures in her pursuit of all things Kafka. It was funny and made me remember the times when I would jump into decisions with both feet!

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