Sand by Wolfgang Herrndorf

Sand by Wolfgang Herrndorf

Wolfgang Herndorf’s work comes to the blog today with an upcoming release – a mix of historic fiction and thriller/suspense, set in the era of the 1972 Munich Olympics and thereafter, and told in multiple perspectives over many timelines is the challenging book of the summer. Please read on for my review of


Told in multiple voices in short chapters, each presenting a piece of the story and perhaps a mystery of their own brings a unique challenge to this read, and demands that careful attention is paid, even when a chapter seems superfluous, or many clues will be lost. Oh who am I kidding – clues are lost, hidden, twisted, presented and disabused with regularity: adding to the ‘what have I just read” sense of the story, without making me want to turn away.

See Herrndorf has presented readers with a challenge: he challenged us to pay attention, to remember minutia and be observant when, it seems, that narrators and the world at large was slapdash and rushing. The writing style ranges from elegant and nuanced, with careful and considered word choices, to a fly by the seat of your pants, everything rushing at you at once – I can’t even begin to imagine the number of starts and stops to bring a story that, even as I couldn’t possibly see it coming into a whole, finally mostly does… of course, the afterward in this story, provided by Michael Maar did go a long way to answering and highlighting moments that I just didn’t get on the first read.

This is truly one of the first books in a long time that I have read that would appeal to a large group of people – those who want a challenge in their read, have some familiarity with both the 1970’s and the political climate of the time, and above all, people who want to feel as if other perspectives add to the richness of a story, making you empathize, despise or better understand the protagonists and action as it unfolds.

I’m going to have to search out more of this author’s works in translation (I don’t read German) for when I want something that flexes both my brain and perspective.

Sand by Wolfgang Herrndorf

Title: Sand
Author: Wolfgang Herrndorf
Genre: European History, German, Historical Fiction, Middle East, Multi-Cultural, Political Elements, Suspense Elements
Published by: NYRB Classics
ISBN: 1681372010
Published on: 12 June, 2018 (Translated Release)
Source: Publisher Via Edelweiss
Pages: 464
Rated: four-stars
Get Your Copy: Amazon Barnes&Noble iTunes Kobo IndieBound
See this Title on Goodreads

Set in the aftermath 1972 Munich Olympics massacre, this darkly sophisticated literary thriller by one of Germany’s most celebrated writers is now available in the US for the first time.

North Africa, 1972. While the world is reeling from the massacre of Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympics, a series of mysterious events is playing out in the Sahara. Four people are murdered in a hippie commune, a suitcase full of money disappears, and a pair of unenthusiastic detectives are assigned to investigate. In the midst of it all, a man with no memory tries to evade his armed pursuers. Who are they? What do they want from him? If he could just recall his own identity he might have a chance of working it out….

This darkly sophisticated literary thriller, the last novel Wolfgang Herrndorf completed before his untimely death in 2013, is, in the words of Michael Maar, “the greatest, grisliest, funniest, and wisest novel of the past decade.” Certainly no reader will ever forget it.

A copy of this title was provided via Publisher Via Edelweiss for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.


About Wolfgang Herrndorf

Wolfgang Herrndorf (1965–2013) studied painting at the Academy of Fine Arts, Nuremberg. After graduating, he moved to Berlin, where he worked as a magazine illustrator and posted frequently on the Internet forum Wir höflichen Paparazzi (We Polite Paparazzi). In 2001, Herrndorf joined the art and writing collective Zentrale Intelligenz Agentur, eventually contributing to their blog, Riesenmaschine (Giant Machine). He published his first novel, In Plu¨schgewittern (Storm of Plush), in 2002. This was followed by a collection of short stories, Diesseits des Van-Allen-Gu¨rtels (This Side of the Van Allen Belt, 2007), which received the Ingeborg Bachmann Prize Audience Award. In early 2010, he was diagnosed with a brain tumor; his novel Tschick (Why We Took the Car) was published just months later and would eventually be translated into twenty-four languages. Sand was released in 2011; it was short-listed for the German Book Prize and won the Leipzig Book Fair Prize. Herrndorf committed suicide in the summer of 2013. His posts on Arbeit und Struktur (Work and Structure), the blog he started after receiving his cancer diagnosis, have been published as a book of the same name. An unfinished sequel to TschickBilder einer großen Liebe (Pictures of Your True Love), was released in 2014.


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