Today marks the 100th birthday of Max Frisch (1911-1991), the acclaimed Swiss author who is most famous for his novels Stiller (1954), Homo Faber (1957) and Mein Name sei Gantenbein (1964). During the 1980s and 1990s his novels were compulsory reading at most German, Swiss, Dutch and Austrian high schools. I have fond memories of reading all three.
His work deserves to be more widely read outside the German speaking world. As various German literary critics point out, his best work is as relevant today as it was when it was first published. Much of his work deals with questions of identity, alienation and technology. I can highly recommend Homo Faber, which tells the story of an engineer whose scientific world-view is shattered by a series of strange coincidences.
This week's German newspapers feature longer appreciations of his work.
Das Prinzip Frisch, Die Zeit, 12 May 2011.
Auf der Suche nach dem Ich der Zeit voraus, Die Zeit, 14 May 2011.
Das Geheimnis der Entblößung, Die Zeit, 7 December 2010.