A new genre of German literature champions emotion and experience, but some worry ‘ultra-romanticism’ is fuelling an anti-liberal movement

Simon Strauss turned 17 the year Angela Merkel won her first election and has known no other German leader in his adult life. But there is little of his chancellor’s famous pragmatism in the debut novel which set the literary world alight this year.

Strauss’s Sieben Nächte (Seven Nights), which has caused the Tagesspiegel newspaper to hail the 28-year-old as “one of the greatest talents of his generation”, tells the story of a protagonist who has grown tired of rational consensus-seeking and embarks on a quest to experience the seven cardinal sins in seven consecutive nights.

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