Axel Thormählen was born in Nordenham, Lower Saxony, during the first winter after the Second World War. He trained as a bookseller and worked in that capacity in Frankfurt and Hamburg before moving to Sweden in order to manage the German department of a university bookshop in Lund.
He met Marianne in the bookshop, and the two of them spent nearly half a century on what used to be a farm in the village of Holmby outside Lund, raising daughters, grandsons and, at times, sheep and chickens. These days they’re Lundians again.
Axel always wrote in his native German, but one of his five novels, Wilhelm, appeared in Swedish. Short fiction is a genre that always appealed particularly to him, and a number of his stories have been published in collections, three of them in English. A couple of his stories have appeared as separate publications.
In 2008, the Los Angeles publisher Les Figues brought out a collection of Axel’s stories under the title A Happy Man and Other Stories. Holmby Press published his most recent collection, Dental Gold and Other Stories, in 2020.
Reviewers have praised Thormählen’s ‘ironic ingenuity’, which evokes an ‘amused and at the same time thoughtful and serious mood in the reader’, his ‘moving empathy for vulnerable human beings’, and the ‘ostensibly paradoxical fusion of satire and solidarity which makes reading him an uninterrupted pleasure’.
Selected short stories by Axel Thormählen, bilingual edition (English/German)The tales in this collection could hardly be more diverse where content is concerned, ranging from the Christmas story 23 December to the young love of Dyke Crest Lane No. 1. We also meet the Construction Worker who keeps interrupting our lives with his relentless noise, the ancient church servant Thomas who inhabits the cathedrals where we catch our breath, and the old woman for whom the only uplifting thing is the Water Tower which rises near her house. In the familiar Course of Things, illness, healing process, and death go hand in hand; the Happy Man knows that, too, whereas the Churchgoer is still searching for a monumental meaning in life. We’d better make use of our Visiting Hour even if things keep breaking into little pieces, again and again. https://www.spdbooks.org/Products/9781934254042/a-happy-man-and-other-stories.aspx Book Reviews Blog http://www.dalkeyarchive.com/catalog/show_comment/1594 http://skylightbooks.blogspot.com/2008/07/my-encounter-with-happy-man.html http://www.bookslut.com/fiction/2008_11_013686.php http://www.theshortreview.com/reviews/AxelThormahlenAHappyMan.htm Interview with Axel Thormählen http://www.theshortreview.com/authors/AxelThormahlen.htm