On Monday evening, the German Book Prize jury announced Terézia Mora as the winner of the 2013 prize for her novel Das Ungeheuer (published by Luchterhand Verlag in Germany). Below is the statement from the jury:
“A dark thread runs through the text of Terézia Mora’s novel Das Ungeheuer (“Monster”), which tells the story of married couple Darius Kopp and Flora. He was an everyman who loved his wife more than anything—albeit hopelessly—and who was overwhelmed by her illness and depression. Flora took her own life, leaving Kopp behind with an urn filled with her ashes and a file in which his Hungarian wife had kept a diary of her disease. He sets off on a journey through Eastern Europe, in search of a home for the ashes and for his despair. His travels take him from Hungary to Croatia to Albania and beyond, until he finally descends upon Greece. Das Ungeheuer is both a stylistically brilliant obituary that is rich in perspective and a spirited road novel set in modern-day Eastern Europe. Terézia Mora adopts a radical approach to offer a voice to the deceased Flora and her suffering, which she was unable to share with Darius. Beneath the dark thread, her diary can be read as a complement to Darius’ travel story—a mosaic of autobiographical and medical sketches on the subject of depression. As a writer, Mora succeeds in interweaving two text forms and two characters who failed each other in life. Terézia Mora combines a keen awareness of literary form with a capacity for empathy. Das Ungeheuer is a deeply moving novel that offers its own diagnosis of the contemporary age.”
Terézia Mora was born in 1971 in Sopron, Hungary. She has lived in Berlin since 1990, and is a translator. Her stories have won her the Open Mike Prize for Literature, the Ingeborg Bachmann Prize and the Adelbert von Chamisso prize for aspiring writers. Every Day was her first novel, for which she was awarded several prizes, and which was translated into 16 languages.
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