One of Germany's most prestigious literary awards has gone to a 432-page historical novel set in Berlin during the two world wars. But literary critics disagree as to whether it's a page-turner or a bore.
Franck's work was chosen from a short-list of six
Franck has a reputation for being earnest
Like most high-profile literary awards, the German Book Prize gives critics the chance to argue long-windedly about whether the winner is any good. And Lady Midday has proved no exception -- with reviewers more or less evenly split on its quality.
"She may reign in her style but she gives it sufficient cold space to breathe and to resonate in precise images," wrote one critic in the daily newspaper Die Welt. "She constructs an almost classical drama of stations."
But others are far less impressed.
"The book is overrun with stereotypical figures from 1920s Berlin, and there, especially where the dialogue is concerned, the 'narrative intensity' lauded by the jury descends into pretension, imprecision and, sometimes, kitsch," carped another critic in the daily Berliner Der Tagesspiegel.
Franck will surely be the subject of further discussion at the Frankfurt Book Fair, which starts on Tuesday evening.