Book look: Austria, Germany and China

“He would just not stop travelling the province to encourage its residents. He told the people not to give up, but also tried to help by providing food to the hungry.” 1These are the introducing words by current Lower Austrian Governor Erwin Pröll about the post-war activities of Leopold Figl, his late predecessor. Figl – who survived being detained in the Nazis’ forced labour camps Dachau and Mauthausen – is one of the key personalities on Austria’s path to freedom after World War Two. In “Leopold Figl und seine Zeit”. Hans Ströbitzer tells how Figl, Adolf Schärf and Julius Raab managed to navigate the country into a peaceful future after the trauma of the war. The book – which is richly illustrated – also deals with Figl’s childhood years in Lower Austria.

Leopold Figl und seine Zeit
By Hans Ströbitzer
Published by Residenz Verlag (

The publishing house which released “Berlin Alexanderplatz” – one of greatest novels in German language of the first part of the 20th century – has decided to create a new version for readers in 2013. The book, which became the biggest commercial success of its author, Alfred Döblin, came out in 1929. It tells from the experiences of Franz Biberkopf, a former prisoner. However, “Berlin Alexanderplatz” also captures life in Berlin in the 1920s. Döblin fled from the Nazis to Zurich in Switzerland in 1933 before travelling on to France and the United States. He passed away in French capital Paris in 1957. His most popular book was turned into a film in 1931. German director Rainer Werner Fassbinder created a television version of the story in 1980.

Berlin Alexanderplatz
By Alfred Döblin
Published by Fischer Klassik (

Cornelia Vospernik can pride herself on writing two books full of gripping stories about living in China. In 2008, she released “China live” before writing “In China” one year later. Vospernik did so when she worked as correspondent for the ORF, Austria’s national broadcaster, in the country’s capital. After several years in Beijing, Vospernik returned to Vienna to become head of the news department of ORF 1, one of the ORF’s television channels. Now the journalist is based in Warsaw and Prague to act as the station’s correspondent for north-eastern Europe. Her new book is a novel called “Genosse Wang fragt”. It tells from an obedient Chinese journalist whose life is at risk of getting out of control when he considers asking a certain question.

Genosse Wang fragt
By Cornelia Vospernik
Published by Kremayr & Scheriau (

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