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ABOUT


Rebecca Schuman. "A slimy, despicable, trashy, self-indulgent and mentally deranged writer for SLATE magazine."

—SOME GUY ON THE INTERNET

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ABOUT


Rebecca Schuman. "A slimy, despicable, trashy, self-indulgent and mentally deranged writer for SLATE magazine."

—SOME GUY ON THE INTERNET

SOME THINGS PEOPLE ARE SAYING 

BUY SCHADENFREUDE, A LOVE STORY NOW from Barnes & Noble, Amazon, IndieBound, Powell's, Books-A-Million, & iBooks.

"A young woman's heartfelt, hilarious recounting of her (often one-sided) passion for all things German." —People

"Every once in awhile, a coming-of-age memoir arrives that truly breaks the mold — and this one certainly fits that bill."
Refinery29 (Best New Reads of February)

"The good news is the book is enjoyable, amusing, and quickly consumed. The bad news is the book is enjoyable, amusing, and quickly consumed. Just like a big slice of Apfelkuchen, I wanted more."
PopMatters

"Her stories of traveling in Europe, taking language classes, and falling in love may be cringe-worthy at times, but they’re also fun."
Bustle (The 16 Best Nonfiction Books of February 2017)

"A FEAST OF HONESTY, HUMILITY AND HUMOR, ALL THE HALLMARKS OF GREAT CONFESSIONAL LITERATURE."
Publishers Weekly

"SCHUMAN ABSOLUTELY REVELS IN THE PAIN CAUSED BY HER LOVE FOR THE GERMAN LANGUAGE." 
Booklist

"LIBERALLY SPRINKLED WITH FREE-FLOWING EXPLETIVES." 
—Kirkus (also, "hilarious" —Kirkus)

 

"This book is a wild and wonderful ride. Your guide, Rebecca Schuman, is a super-smart and very funny person who writes brilliantly about Germany and Germans (who are not what you think) and being young and insane and life in general and...just read it, OK?" —Dave Barry, national treasure

"An anthropological love story that's spit-out-your-schnitzel funny. She had me at Wohngemeinschaften." —Pamela Druckerman, author of the New York Times bestselling Bringing Up Bébé

"I don't know the German for 'madcap romp' (and I wouldn't be able to pronounce it anyway), but SCHADENFREUDE is a rip from the start, cursing its way from conceited high school boys to fluorescent dance clothes that just don't work in the US. Behold, the follies of all us childlike adults!" —Rosecrans Baldwin, author of Paris I Love You, But You're Bringing Me Down

"This book is too damn good. It's ruining my evening, because as soon as I got my kids to sleep, I was going to do loads of useful stuff." —Simon Kuper, legitimate journalist

"A brain-pleasing page-turner." —J Ryan StradalNew York Times bestselling author of Kitchens of the Great Midwest

"A fun, wickedly intelligent book about failure, Kafka, and what it means to slowly perfect a language for one's own place in the world. Schuman throws herself headlong into the strange intersections between American grandiosity and German self-effacement with boundless energy, insight, and no shortage of wonderful, cringeworthy moments. What a rewarding, hilarious read."
—Mike Scalise, author of The Brand New Catastrophe

 

SCHADENFREUDE, A LOVE STORY is the debut memoir by journalist and essayist Rebecca Schuman.

Rebecca always wanted a long-term relationship with an interesting guy. She just never figured it would be with someone who'd been dead since 1923.

It began in high school, with the discovery a yellowing paperback of Franz Kafka's The Metamorphosis, and a brooding dark-eyed boy who loved The Trial, smelled like Earl Grey tea and broke her heart. The boy was gone, but Kafka was there for good, and this led Rebecca to a strange life of chasing phantoms down twisting cobbled alleys—or, at any rate, of increasingly convoluted attempts to ingratiate herself into the cultures of German-speaking Europe (cultures, of course, with a natural distrust of ingratiation).

In college, her ill-thought-out decision to major in German without knowing any German resulted in a failed experiment in Holocaust reparations with a baffled host family, and then some misplaced nostalgia for the Berlin Wall that neither a kitchen-shower nor a racist granny could deter. Her underwhelming entrance to the professional world involved unanswered faxes to Leni Riefenstahl, and a prophetic conversation with a teenage movie star in Prague, who somehow convinced her to go for a PhD. But in grad school, her primary takeaways were sun damage and a weird aversion to eating meals with other people. 

SCHADENFREUDE, A LOVE STORY is an improbable journey to functional adulthood, with only Franz Kafka as the consistent arbiter of excellent decisions. Available NOW from FLATIRON BOOKSat fine book retailers everywhere, and online at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million, IndieBound, Powell's, & iTunes

For more information, a review copy, a media inquiry, or to book a reading, email Steven Boriack here.

 

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SCHADENFREUDE


SCHADENFREUDE


Rebecca Schuman was born in Deep Springs, California and grew up in Eugene, Oregon. She graduated from Vassar College, and spent several years working in media and publishing in New York City before beginning her PhD in German at the University of California-Irvine, which she received in 2010. She taught at the University of Missouri-St. Louis and Ohio State before leaving academia in 2013 to become a freelance writer. She writes the "Deutschland Über Us" column for THE AWL, and is a frequent contributor to SLATE, the CHRONICLE OF HIGHER EDUCATION, the ATLANTIC and other publications. She is also the author of several scholarly articles and KAFKA AND WITTGENSTEIN, an academic book based on her doctoral dissertation. SCHADENFREUDE is her first work of commercial nonfiction. 

Rebecca lives in St. Louis with her husband and young daughter.

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VIDS



VIDS VIDS

VIDS



VIDS VIDS

Reading and discussion at Malvern Books in Austin, Texas, April 14 2017

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ONLINE WRITING


Online writing

ONLINE WRITING


Online writing

Selected Links

"Deutschland Uber Us"
Rebecca's weekly column on all things relevant in the last bastion of liberal democracy on Earth.

 

"Thesis Hatement
Want to get a literature PhD? You shouldn't.

"The Ghosts of Kafka Present"
A meandering review of the sublime new translation of The Metamorphosis.

"Is Mir Egal"
Dog with shark? Egal. Bring (and do) anything you want on the Berlin U-Bahn.

"Baby Bird"
A philosophical investigation into why Rebecca probably should have sleep-trained her kid.

"I Am Terrified of Taking My Child Literally Anywhere."
What if Rebecca's bad parenting choices go viral? (See "Baby Bird")

"College Students Are Not Customers"
Even if what they're "buying" costs eight squillion dollars.

"Quit Picking on Old Professors"
Why yes Rebecca does mean her mom, why do you ask?

"Syllabus Tyrannus"
Please refer to p. 403, which contains a 200-page FAQ about this course.

"Angela Merkel Has Been Wearing the Same Amazing Tunic for 18 Years"
In Germany, it's old enough to drive.

"Trader Joe Has a Brother"
Oh look, it's the most popular thing Rebecca has ever written, and it took her 23 minutes.

 

VITAE

"No Victor Believes in Chance"
What is this 'supply and demand' of which you speak? 

"The Academic Book as Expensive, Nihilistic Hobby"
Bonus one-way text message tantrum. 

"The Complete Opposite of Tuna on Toast"
When you leave academia, do a George Costanza. 

"Crimes Against Dissertation Humanity"
Don't be like these advisors. Especially if you don't advise any dissertations.

 

CHRONICLE OF HIGHER ED

"Don't Ditch Deutsch"
Oh hey, remember German departments? Your university probably doesn't.

"Academe is a Lousy Family Planner"
Having kids will severely cramp your academic style. Don't let that stop you. 

"Hanging Up on a Calling"
Remember, 'vocation' is Latin for 'you should like it enough to work for free.'

"Why Are Adjuncts Only Fit for the Glue Factory?
Only in academia does experience make you unfit for a job. (Well, academia and one other profession.)

"Some More of my Personal Failings, To Prove the Meritocracy Exists"
Rebecca likes to perform her own opposition research.

"Not Everyone is Suited to Academia"
Yeah, maybe quit saying that, because it's cruel.

"#Buttscan"
Professionalism. 

"True Academia Story of Thesis Hatement (Part I of ??)"
The behind-the-scenes you never asked for.

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CONTACT


Contact

CONTACT


Contact

For media and speaking inquiries, email Steven Boriack here.
Reach Rebecca's agent, Alia Habib (McCormick Literary), at 212-691-9726. 
Write to Rebecca directly here.

Subscribe to the Nihilism for Optimists newsletter for updates on readings and media appearances, releases of new projects, adjudications of unimportant debates, pedantic nebbishy observations, heartfelt rants when blood sugar is low, and the occasional unsolicited kid pic.

 

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SHOW YOUR #SCHADENFREUDE


SHOW YOUR

#SCHADEN-
FREUDE

SHOW YOUR #SCHADENFREUDE


SHOW YOUR

#SCHADEN-
FREUDE

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Errata


ERRATA

mistakes in the first edition of schadenfreude, a love story

Errata


ERRATA

mistakes in the first edition of schadenfreude, a love story

Page 175

In the chapter "Liebeskummer," Rebecca relates an anecdote about the German playwright Friedrich Schiller and his iconic essay "On Naïve and Sentimental Poetry." In relating that story, she claims, erroneously, that Schiller kept Goethe's skull on his desk for inspiration. In reality, it was Goethe who kept SCHILLER's skull on his desk for inspiration. She knows this. She assures you all, readers, that she knows this and has, in fact, told this story on multiple occasions. The two big-headed 18th-Century legends must have transposed in her head while she was writing and revising that chapter, which she did having just had a baby. She doesn't often talk about this—she wrote most of SCHADENFREUDE after just having had a baby—because it invites a lot of sexist commentary, but those of you with children know that those first few months after you have one turn your entire life into a fog, up into down, left into right, day into night...Goethe into Schiller. This is a particularly embarrassing gaffe, because Rebecca has a doctorate in German, and has even published peer-reviewed scholarship about the so-called 'Goethezeit.' This is SCHADENFREUDE's first major error (that we have found), and she's guessing it won't be the last. Enjoy the SCHADENFREUDE of her shame. By the paperback, hopefully it will be vanished into the ether, along with what remains of her dignity.

In the chapter "Ereignis," Rebecca claims her grandfather, Stanton Schuman, died at the age of 94. He was, in fact, 92.

PAGE 238


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RANDOM KAFKA


random KAFKA

RANDOM KAFKA


random KAFKA

Vor dem Gesetz ("Before the Law")

Before the Law stands a doorkeeper. To this doorkeeper comes a man from the country, asking for entrance to the Law. But the doorkeeper says that he cannot grant the man entry at this moment. The man thinks it over and asks if he might be able to come in later. “It’s possible,” says the doorkeeper, “but not now.” Given that the door to the law stands open, as always, and the doorkeeper stands beside it, the man bends over a bit to see through it, to the inside. As the doorkeeper notices this he laughs, and says: “If it tempts you so much, go ahead and try to get in, despite my prohibition. Know this, though: I’m powerful. And I’m only the lowest of the doorkeepers. But from room to room stand doorkeepers, each more powerful than the last. Just one glimpse of the third and I can’t even handle it myself.” The man from the country had not expected such difficulties; the law should be open to everyone all the time, he thinks. But now, as he looks closer at the doorkeeper in his fur coat, his big pointy nose, his long, thin, black Tartar’s beard, he decides to wait until he gets permission to go in. The doorkeeper gives him a little stool and allows him to sit down by the side of the door. There he sits, for days and years. He makes many attempts to be let in, tires the doorkeeper out with his begging. The doorkeeper often interrogates him a little, asks him about his homeland and other things, but these are indifferent questions, the kind great men ask, and at the end he always says once again that he can’t let him in just yet. The man, who has equipped himself with many things for his journey, hands it all over, no matter how valuable, to bribe the doorkeeper. The doorkeeper takes everything, but he always says: “I’m only taking this so that you don’t feel like you failed to do something.” During these many years the man looks at the doorkeeper almost constantly. He forgets the other doorkeepers, and this one seems to him to be his only obstacle for entry to the Law. He curses his unlucky circumstances, in the early years indiscriminately and loud, and later, as he grows old, just mumbles to himself. He becomes childish, and, given that in his years-long study of the doorkeeper he’s come to know even the fleas in his fur collar, he even asks the fleas to help him persuade the doorkeeper. Finally his eyesight grows weak, and he doesn’t know whether things around him are becoming darker, or his eyes are just deceiving him. But he recognizes an illumination in the darkness, breaking out inextinguishably from the door to the Law. Now he hasn’t got long left to live. Before his death, in his head he collects all the experiences of this entire time into one question, which he has not yet posed to the doorkeeper. He waves him down, given that he can no longer straighten up his body, which has grown stiff. “What do you want to know now?” asks the doorkeeper. “You’re insatiable.” “Everybody strives for the Law,” says the man. “So how does it come to be that in these many years nobody besides me has requested entry?” The doorkeeper recognizes that the man is at his end, and in order to be heard with the man’s fading hearing, shouts: “Nobody else could have been given entry here, because this entrance was assigned only to you. Now I’m going to go and shut it.”

Translation ©2016 by Rebecca Schuman