Dirk Knipphals born in Northern Germany in 1963, studied literature and philosophy in Kiel and Hamburg. Today, he works as a literary editor for the German tageszeitung newspaper. The Surfer is his first novel.
If Albert had his way, a storm would erupt instantly and sweep it all away. He’s desperate to break out of his stiflingly closeted suburb, one of the thousands strewn across Germany in the 1970s. All that matters to him is being free and different. Albert thinks he’s found a way out, delving into the work of Kafka, Musil and Frisch. Intending to become a writer, he falls in love with the rebellious Katrin but is insecure about his bookishness. Martin, his best friend and a passionate surfer, seems to have better chances.
While mowing the neighbour’s lawn Albert makes a discovery that points to hidden tragedies played out behind the curtains of suburbia. Suddenly, literature and reality clash unexpectedly and Albert is forced to admit that he may be more attached to his home town than he’d like to admit.
Dirk Knipphals’s wonderfully insightful and empathetic debut novel explores the awakenings of youth and the fight for new freedoms against old traditions during the 1970s; this is a homage to dreams and illusions that, while failing in the face of harsh realities, still end in triumph.