Event Date
13 Jul 23

Discover the full programme on the European Parliament's website. 

"On Tuesdays and Thursdays during the first two weeks of July, discover European literature with summer readings in the Citizens' Garden in Brussels. Immerse yourself in thought-provoking stories in a serene green space on your lunchbreak.


Thursday 13 July (12:30 - 13:30 in the Citizen's Garden - Brussels) – The Sad Guest by Matthias Nawrat

The author
Matthias Nawrat was born in Opole, Poland in 1979. At the age of 10, he moved to Germany with his family and now lives in Berlin. His debut novel Wir zwei allein (The Two of Us Alone) already achieved international acclaim in 2012. Later prize winning publications included his dystopian novel Unternehmer (Entrepreneur) in 2012 and a fictional family record in Die vielen Tode unseres Opa Jurek (The Many Deaths of our Grandpa Jurek) in 2017. Nowosibirsk: Tagebuch is a journal of his short stay in Siberia on invitation of Goethe-Institut. The author has also published essays and short stories.

The book
The Sad Guest (2019)

Matthias Nawrat's fourth novel is a philosophical yet human observation of one's self and survival in today's world. The title of the novel, The sad guest, alludes to a synonymous quote from Goethe: "As long as you don’t have this: Die and become! You are just a dull guest on this dark earth". The action takes place in closely observed contemporary Berlin. The attack on the Christmas market at the Memorial Church shakes the sense of security. Against this setting, the first-person narrator meets three different protagonists: Dorota, an elderly Polish architect with infectious intellectual energy, Dariusz, a former surgeon who now works as a gas station attendant due to alcohol problems, and Eli, a survivor. Their stories tell of the loss of home combined with the simultaneous euphoria of a new arrival, of repression and simultaneous desire.

Reading in German, translation of text into English

Moderated by Dr. Franziska Humphreys, Head of Programme "Europanetzwerk Deutsch", Goethe-Institut Brussels

This reading is presented to you in cooperation with Goethe-Institut Brussels and the European Literature Prize (EUPL)."

Summer Readings