A Novel


A reimagining of Buechner’s classic play Woyzeck, the tale of jealousy, love turned to hate, and murder and its consequences propels this internationally acclaimed novel

This book is not yet published, but will be available from August 2022.

ISBN: 9781419751226 Category:

Steve Sem-Sandberg


The novel W. is a literary prequel to one of modern literature’s touchstone texts, the play Woyzeck-the basis of films, operas, and numerous translations and adaptations. Considered the first modern drama, Woyzeck tells the story of a loyal foot soldier who, in a fit of jealous rage, kills the woman he loves. In 1836 this true story inspired Georg Buechner to write the play, unfinished at his death at just 23 years old. W., the astonishing new novel by August Prize-winning author Steve Sem-Sandberg, grippingly recounts the lovers’ relationship, the murder case, and the solder’s execution, while digging deeper into the world and motivations of the characters.

Taking this classic and enduring work as his starting point, in poetic and controlled prose, Sem-Sandberg reveals a ruthless, moving, and unforgettable story of human vulnerability and the abyss that Buechner felt was a part of every person. Larger forces such as the horrors of war and the dehumanizing nature of psychiatry collide with the soldier’s own small world, and love devolves into hatred as Woyzeck desperately and humanly struggles to make something of the life given to him.

Additional information

Weight 300 g
Dimensions 15.24 x 22.86 cm
Publisher name ABRAMS
Publication date 25 August 2022
Number of pages 352
Format Hardback
Dimensions 15.24 x 22.86 cm
Weight 300 g


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Steve Sem-Sandberg is a writer, translator, and literary critic. He began writing in 1976 and is best known for his many documentary historical novels, including Theres (1996), Ravensbrück (2003), and De fattiga i Lódz (2009), which won the August Prize. In addition to his writing, he also works as a literary critic at Dagens Nyheter. In 2020 he was elected to the Swedish Academy, the body that chooses the Nobel Prize for Literature.