The Shoe Tester of Frankfurt – Wilhelm Genazino

The Shoe Tester of Frankfurt is one of Wilhelm Genazino’s highly exciting books; written in 2003 and translated into many languages. It is one of those books you never thought you would be impressed at the end; this one surprises you.


The Shoe Tester of Frankfurt

An anti-hero narrates The Shoe Tester of Frankfurt. Throughout the book, we keep swirling with his words. More precisely, we walk around the city trying new shoes and listen to our narrator’s observations and thoughts. Although the book progressed unbearably for me in the first few chapters, after a while, I realised that I was accustomed to the tone of the book, and I read it with curiosity.

So if you read the first few pages of the book and get bored, don’t give up immediately. This anti-hero, whom you won’t get to like immediately, will give you a lot to think about yourself. You may also come across a few queries about life and observations that will surprise you. This is a book in which every reader will have different experiences and remember different things. I guess it is not a book that everyone will love to read, but I think a particular audience will like it. Enjoy!

The Shoe Tester of Frankfurt - Wilhelm Genazino

The Shoe Tester of Frankfurt

This brief and poignant novel from Germany explores existential questions as its 46-year-old narrator reflects on broken relationships and other failures, and struggles to come to terms with life. The Shoe Tester of Frankfurt by Wilhelm Genazino, 2004 recipient of the Georg-Büchner-Preis, Germany’s highest literary honor, is finally available to English-speaking readers in a pitch-perfect translation by Philip Boehm.

Employed by a high-end shoe manufacturer to test new products, the narrator spends his days wandering through his native city, encountering faces from his past (primarily female) and experiencing anew the many manifestations of the mystery of life. In the grand tradition of literary flâneurs, he takes note of his surroundings, from the significant to the mundane, and assembles them into a sort of mental collage that is at once self-portrait and cityscape. Most remarkable in Genazino’s work is the humor with which he invests this melancholic character.

Though at times he fears that he teeters on the brink of insanity, he good-naturedly pursues the strange twists of fate that land him variously behind a table at the flea market, in a newspaper office, by the banks of a flooded river, or in a friend’s bed. As Peter von Matt wrote in Der Spiegel, “Indeed, there is hardly a subtler humorist among today’s writers than Genazino.”

Wilhelm Genazino

Wilhelm Genazino was a German journalist and so author. He worked first as a journalist for the satirical magazine pardon and so for Lesezeichen. From the early 1970s, he was so a freelance writer. Who became known by a trilogy of novels, sı Abschaffel-Trilogie, completed in 1979. It was followed by more novels and so two plays.

Reading this book contributed to these challenges: 

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