Counting Beans (Erbsenzählen)

Hardcover , 21 x 13 cm
160 pages


Scathingly, but not without humour, Gertraud Klemm screens our lifestyles in today’s world. Not mincing her words, she mercilessly dissects different life plans from varying walks of life from the post-war era up to Generation Z.

How can one live freely in a world bound by norms and rules? This is the question 30-year-old Annika, ends up facing. Doing her best to dodge all professional and private expectations, and rebelling against any kind of bean counting, she quits her steady job to wait tables and, occasionally, go to university. Career, marriage, children, owning a house – the status symbols that other people strive to accumulate are meaningless in her eyes.

Again and again, Annika violates the codes of the neo-liberal, traditional and performance-driven community of values, in an attempt to evade the imposed lifestyle. But how to combine ideals and reality inmidst an emotional chaos with her partner, Alfred, who is double her age and to whose 13-year-old son Elias she is a stepmother, and has to take responsibility?

Presented in New Books in German (All fiction books featured in New Books in German in the last five years and bought by an English-language publisher are guaranteed a grant.)


»Klemm did an amazing job: She created a novel that is as funny as sad, and that transports so much worldly wisdom in an entertaining way. A small but great book.« (Wolfgang Huber-Lang, APA)

»Gertraud Klemm sports a keen eye and a profound interest in how people live. Most of all, she is gifted with a remarkable talent for language.« (ZDF aspekte)

»With her observation skills, original images, sharp-witted analyses and a good dose of sarcastic humour, Klemm empathizes with her protagonists.« (Eva Behrendt, Tagesspiegel)

»Klemm painstakingly hones the language of her sentences; she is a great observer who uses precision to uncover sore spots.« (Carola Eberling, Zeit ONLINE)