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Horn Bückel
"Horn Bückel", a novel set in the mid-90s in a 300-soul, north German village, examines what happens when a young American, Paul Klose, comes to Germany for a year and is let into the workings and lives of the locals. He takes on the job of sexton -- a moonlighting job -- in addition to his teaching post at a business school. His private life includes courting the dairy farmer's daughter, Appel. As sexton, he buries a handful of villagers. As English teacher, he presumes he can provide his students with more than business terms. As Appel's suitor, he is up against more than a judgmental brother. Eventually, he stands to lose both jobs -- and perhaps even Appel.
Reviews
Imsdahl’s charming slice-of-life debut follows American Paul Klose, an amicable English teacher who arrives in bucolic Horn Bückel, Germany, in the mid-1990s. He rents a room near the school where he has acquired a temporary teaching position, and quickly learns that the accommodations he’s taken come with a strange requirement: he is to be the town’s sexton, with duties ranging from ringing the church bells to digging graves. Klose’s superior, Pastor Grob, is an angry man whose wife is as lustful as her husband is contentious. The couple wears on Klose’s patience as he develops friendships with Horn Bückel’s eccentric inhabitants, including the previous sexton and wise storyteller Otto Schwalbe, town gossip Mrs. Stamm, and farm girl Appel, whose “long-legged gait” is capable of “suddenly making the day warmer.” This tale of one town, its citizens, and an American visitor is delivered in a witty voice that accentuates Imsdahl’s burgeoning talent. (BookLife)

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