German for Travelers: A Novel in 95 Lessons

A novel by Norah Labiner

May 1, 2009 • 6 x 9 • 270 pages • 978-1-56689-223-0

A family saga redolent of the Old World, layered with consequence, and frosted with Technicolor.

In search of the key to unlock a great family mystery, Lemon Leopold, a Hollywood starlet, and her cousin Eliza, a romance writer, go to Berlin. Soon they are on a trail leading back to their great-grandfather Jozef Apfel, a Jewish pioneer of psychoanalysis in early twentieth-century Germany.

Alternating between the great doctor’s household, the mysterious case of his patient Elsa Z., the rise of Nazi Germany, 1960s and 1970s Detroit, and modern-day Berlin, this is a story about a girl whose dreams reveal the future, a family beset by ghosts, and the place that haunts them all.

About the Author

Norah Labiner is the author of three previous novels: Our Sometime Sister, Miniatures, and German for Travelers. She has received a Minnesota Book Award for Literary Fiction, as well as fellowships from the Minnesota State Arts Board, the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, and the National Endowment for the Arts. Her work has been recognized by the American Library Association, the Jewish Book Council, and the Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers series. She lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota.


“A creative, modern novel.” Jewish Woman Magazine

“Inventive and engaging. . . . A great read.” Pioneer Press

“Labiner’s voice is bold and outgoing, giving the impression that she can tromp through whatever story she pleases.” Onion, A.V. Club Twin Cities

“An intricate family saga.” Publishers Weekly

“Cleverly constructed. . . . Labiner shows a light comic touch.” Denver Post