Schadenfreude : A Love Story

Author(s): Rebecca Schuman

Biography / Memoir

You know that feeling when you catch the elevator but don't hold it for the person behind you? Seeing Lindsay Lohan in handcuffs? Donald Trump being attacked by a bald eagle? There's a word for this mix of malice and joy, and the Germans (of course) invented it. It's schadenfreude, deriving pleasure from others misfortune, and with Slate columnist Rebecca Schuman the Teutons have a blast at her expense. Schadenfreude, A Love Story is the tale of a teenage Jewish intellectual who falls in love. In love with a boy (who breaks her heart), a language (that's nearly impossible to master), a culture (that's nihilistic, but punctual) and a landscape (that's breathtaking when there's not a wall in the way). Rebecca Schuman was just your average 90's teenager with a passion for punk rock and Ethan Hawke circa Reality Bites until two men walk into her high school Political Science class: Dylan Krieger, with deep blue eyes, and an even deeper soul, and Franz Kafka, hitching a ride in Dylan's backpack. These two men are the axe to the frozen pond that is Rebecca's soul, and what flows forth is a passion for all things German. Blue eyed Dylan might leave the second a more popular girl looks his way, but Kafka is forever, and in pursuit of this elusive love Rebecca will spend two decades stuttering and stumbling through broken German sentences trying to win over a people who couldn't, on the surface, care less. She smokes endless hand rolled cigarettes in fleabag hostels, squats in an abandoned East German factory loft with angry roommates, and plunges down the rabbit hole of acedmia in pursuit of a PhD in German until she realizes that maybe the greatest challenge of her life is not to become German, but learning to embrace all the reasons why she never would be. At once a snapshot of a young woman finding herself, and a country slowly starting to stitch itself back together after nearly a century of war (both hot and cold), Schadenfreude: A Love Story is an exhilarating, hilarious, and yes, maybe even heartfelt addition to the expat canon.

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Sometimes, love plays hard to get. You know that feeling when you catch the elevator but don't hold it for the person behind you? Seeing Lindsay Lohan in handcuffs? Donald Trump being attacked by a bald eagle? There's a word for this mix of malice and joy, and the Germans (of course) invented it. It's schadenfreude, deriving pleasure from others misfortune, and with Slate columnist Rebecca Schuman the Teutons have a blast at her expense. Schadenfreude, A Love Story is the tale of a teenage Jewish intellectual who falls in love. In love with a boy (who breaks her heart), a language (that's nearly impossible to master), a culture (that's nihilistic, but punctual) and a landscape (that's breathtaking when there's not a wall in the way).

"This book is a wild and wonderful ride. Your guide, Rebecca Schuman, is a super-smart and very funny person who writes brilliantly about Germany and Germans (who are not what you think) and being young and insane and life in general and... just read it, OK?"- Dave Barry"An anthropological love story that's spit-out-your-schnitzel funny. She had me at wohngemeinschaften." - Pamela Druckerman, author of New York Times Bestselling Bringing Up Bebe"I don't know the German for 'madcap romp' (and I wouldn't be able to pronounce it anyway), but SCHADENFREUDE is a rip from the start, cursing its way from conceited high school boys to fluorescent dance clothes that just don't work in the US. Behold, the follies of all us childlike adults!"- Rosecrans Baldwin, author of Paris, I Love You, But You're Bringing Me Down"A brain-pleasing page-turner." --J. Ryan Stradal, New York Times bestselling author of Kitchens of the Great Midwest"A fun, wickedly intelligent book about failure, Kafka, and what it means to slowly perfect a language for one's own place in the world. Schuman throws herself headlong into the strange intersections between American grandiosity and German self-effacement with boundless energy, insight, and no shortage of wonderful, cringeworthy moments. What a rewarding, hilarious read."-- Mike Scalise, The Brand New Catastrophe"Schuman's youth in the 1990s plays out through the nine chapters of her hilarious memoir... A comedic patchwork of quirky anecdotes written in smooth, sometimes-cocky prose, liberally sprinkled with free-flowing expletives and consistent sincerity. Schuman's droll, self-deprecating, wild life (so far) will find particular appeal with readers who enjoy memoirs that don't take themselves too seriously."-- Kirkus Reviews"Schuman's journeys to Germany and her pursuit of further connection with her beloved Franz Kafka bring to mind another great travel memoirist, Geoff Dyer, writing about D.H. Lawrence. As Dyer does, Schuman entertains while relating her inner conflicts, personal and cultural hypocrisies, and overblown self-delusions during her decades-long struggle with the German language and those who speak it. Schuman's engrossing book is a feast of honesty, humility and humor, all the hallmarks of great confessional literature."-- Publishers Weekly"Her stories of traveling in Europe, taking language classes, and falling in love may be cringe-worthy at times, but they're also fun."-- Bustle

Rebecca Schuman is a frequent contributor to Slate, where she writes about higher education, Germany, popular culture and parenting. She holds a PhD in German from the University of California, Irvine. Schadenfreude, A Love Story is her first book.

General Fields

  • : 9781250077653
  • : St Martin's Press
  • : St Martin's Press
  • : February 2018
  • : 210mm X 137mm
  • : United States
  • : May 2017
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : Paperback
  • : English
  • : 920
  • : 288
  • : Rebecca Schuman