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Lichtenberg & The Little Flower Girl

Authors: Gert Hofmann

Published by CB Editions

ISBN: 9780955728556

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"Europe’s belated answer to Lolita."
Gabriel Josipovici, TLS (International Books of the Year 2004)

Georg Christoph Lichtenberg (1742–99) – mathematician, physicist and compulsive scribbler – invites a thirteen-year-old flower seller to call on him at home. He is vain, pettish, frisky; she becomes his housekeeper, pupil and lover; and there blossoms, in this novel’s wry, playful imagining of the real-life romance between Lichtenberg and Maria Stechard, a rare but credible happiness.

"Lovingly and crazily based on the life of the 18th-century German mathematician, who was a dandy despite having a hunchback, Gert Hofmann’s final book translated by his son is delightfully anarchic and imaginative in its exploration of an unlikely love found and lost."
Eileen Battersby, The Irish Times

"It is somewhat flabbergasting that this has not been snapped up by a larger publisher. [Lichtenberg & The Little Flower Girl] is based on the real historical figure, the aphorist Georg Lichtenberg. A short, hunchbacked man, he had a beautiful mind and a witty and idiosyncratic way of expressing himself; and Gert Hofmann has captured this in a style – beautifully translated by Michael – which betokens wonder and innocence, attributes which are necessary if one is going to describe, as this novel does, the romance between a 35-year-old man and a 13-year-old girl. 'It’s probably the zaniest, gloomiest and funniest thing you’ve read in a long time, if not ever,' says Michael Hofmann in his Afterword, and this isn’t idle boasting."
Nicholas Lezard, The Guardian

"A fancy and a beauty... When comic novels are rarely done, and even more rarely done well, Lichtenberg & The Little Flower Girl is a breath of air, a carefully chaotic representation of real life through the prism of a fictionalised historical character."
John Self, Asylum

Gert Hofmann (1931–93) was "one of the finest 20th-century German writers, extraordinarily versatile, a writer of surprises" (The Irish Times). His other novels include The Parable of the Blind, The Film Explainer and Luck; Lichtenberg & The Little Flower Girl was his last novel.

Michael Hofmann, the son of Gert, is a poet and the translator of works by Joseph Roth, Wolfgang Koeppen, Kafka, Brecht and others. His awards for translation include the Schlegel-Tieck Prize, the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize and the International IMPAC Dublin Award.
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