The appointment

Katharina Volckmer, 1987-

Book - 2020

"In a well-appointed examination in London, a young woman unburdens herself to a certain Dr. Seligman. Though she can barely see above his head, she holds forth about her life and desires, her struggles with her sexuality and identity. Born and raised in Germany, she has been living in London for several years, determined to break free from her family origins and her haunted homeland. But the recent death of her grandfather, and an unexpected inheritance, make it clear that you cannot easil...y outrun your own shame, whether it be physical, familial, historical, national, or all of the above. Or can you? With Dr. Seligman's help, our narrator will find out. In a monologue that is both deliciously dark and subversively funny, she takes us on a wide-ranging journey from Hitler-centered sexual fantasies and overbearing mothers to the medicinal properties of squirrel tails and the notion that anatomical changes can serve as historical reparation."--Provided by publisher.

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FICTION/Volckmer, Katharina
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Subjects
Genres
Psychological fiction
Novellas
Published
New York : Avid Reader Press [2020]
Edition
First Avid Reader Press hardcover edition
Language
English
Item Description
Title from cover.
Physical Description
134 pages ; 21 cm
ISBN
9781982150174
1982150173
Main Author
Katharina Volckmer, 1987- (author)
Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

Volckmer's coruscating debut takes the form of a Bernhardian monologue made during a medical exam. While the title is a nod to the novel's setting, its alternate title (The Story of a Jewish Cock) engenders the salacious tone. Sarah, the German-born, London-based 30-something narrator, opens the book by relating her sexual fantasies of Hitler to Dr. Seligman, her Jewish gynecologist. As Seligman examines Sarah, she provides a chaise lounges-like Freudian confessional, a setup that allows Volckmer to display her mastery of dark comedy. Sarah ponders epithets for the Fuhrer's penis and explains how loving "a Jew... a proper one, with curls and a skullcap" is the only way for a German to overcome Holocaust guilt. The narrative is deepened when Sarah explores how the shame of being German has impacted her psyche: she describes a romance begun in a public toilet and her disdain for her familial and national roots, even airing out her frustration of being stereotyped as a German well versed in "Max fucking Sebald." The book ends in a passage of contemplative beauty that grounds Sarah as a human trying to solve her own complications. The narration successfully walks a tightrope of incendiary subject matter via German-Jewish humor and literary touchstones; Volckmer's inversion of Portnoy's Complaint is a revelation. (Sept.) Copyright 2020 Publishers Weekly.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

A young German woman unburdens herself to her London doctor in a stream-of-consciousness narrative that covers her family origins, the recent death of her grandfather, an overbearing mother, the medicinal use of squirrel tales and Hitler-centered sexual fantasies.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

"A young German woman unburdens herself to her London doctor in a stream-of-consciousness narrative that covers her family origins, the recent death of her grandfather, an overbearing mother, the medicinal use of squirrel tales and Hitler-centered sexualfantasies"--

Review by Publisher Summary 3

'A darkly funny untangling of national and sexual identity.' 'The Guardian * 'transgressive...Incendiary.' 'The New Yorker * 'A furious comic monologue...with a disregard for propriety worthy of Alexander Portnoy.' 'The New York Times Book Review * 'sexy, hilarious, and subversive.' 'The Paris Review For readers of Ottessa Moshfegh and Han Kang, a whip-smart debut novel in which a woman on the verge of major change addresses her doctor in a stream of consciousness narrative.In a well-appointed examination in London, a young woman unburdens herself to a certain Dr. Seligman. Though she can barely see above his head, she holds forth about her life and desires, her struggles with her sexuality and identity. Born and raised in Germany, she has been living in London for several years, determined to break free from her family origins and her haunted homeland. But the recent death of her grandfather, and an unexpected inheritance, make it clear that you cannot easily outrun your own shame, whether it be physical, familial, historical, national, or all of the above.Or can you? With Dr. Seligman's help, our narrator will find out.In a monologue that is both deliciously dark and subversively funny, she takes us on a wide-ranging journey from Hitler-centered sexual fantasies and overbearing mothers to the medicinal properties of squirrel tails and the notion that anatomical changes can serve as historical reparation. The Appointment is an audacious debut novel by an explosive new international literary voice, challenging all of our notions of what is fluid and what is fixed, and the myriad ways we seek to make peace with others and ourselves in the 21st century.

Review by Publisher Summary 4

“A darkly funny untangling of national and sexual identity.” —The Guardian * “Transgressive...Incendiary.” —The New Yorker * “A furious comic monologue...with a disregard for propriety worthy of Alexander Portnoy.” —The New York Times Book Review * “Sexy, hilarious, and subversive.” —The Paris Review For readers of Ottessa Moshfegh and Han Kang, a whip-smart debut novel in which a woman on the verge of major change addresses her doctor in a stream of consciousness narrative.In a well-appointed examination in London, a young woman unburdens herself to a certain Dr. Seligman. Though she can barely see above his head, she holds forth about her life and desires, her struggles with her sexuality and identity. Born and raised in Germany, she has been living in London for several years, determined to break free from her family origins and her haunted homeland. But the recent death of her grandfather, and an unexpected inheritance, make it clear that you cannot easily outrun your own shame, whether it be physical, familial, historical, national, or all of the above.Or can you? With Dr. Seligman’s help, our narrator will find out.In a monologue that is both deliciously dark and subversively funny, she takes us on a wide-ranging journey from Hitler-centered sexual fantasies and overbearing mothers to the medicinal properties of squirrel tails and the notion that anatomical changes can serve as historical reparation. The Appointment is an audacious debut novel by an explosive new international literary voice, challenging all of our notions of what is fluid and what is fixed, and the myriad ways we seek to make peace with others and ourselves in the 21st century.