The Association of German Publishers and Booksellers Foundation (Börsenverein des Deutschen Buchhandels Stiftung) awarded its 2011 German Book Prize on Monday evening just before the start of the Frankfurt Book Fair. Fifty-seven-year-old author Eugen Ruge won the twenty-five-thousand-euro award (approximately thirty-four thousand dollars) for his first novel, In Zeiten des abnehmenden Lichts (In times of fading light).
The novel, which received the Alfred Döblin Prize in 2009 when still in manuscript form, was praised for its humor despite the gravity of its subject. "Ruge's family saga is a reflection of East German history," said the prize jury. "He manages to tame the experiences of four generations over fifty years into a dramatically refined composition. His book tells the story of the socialist utopia, the price demanded of the individual, and its gradual extinction."
An English translation of Ruge's novel is in the works, but a firm publication date has not been announced. In the meantime, English speakers can read a translated excerpt on the website Signandsight.