I Make Envy on Your Disco

A Novel

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Pub Date May 01 2024 | Archive Date Jun 30 2024

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Winner of the Barbara DiBernard Prize in Fiction

It’s the new millennium and the anxiety of midlife is creeping up on Sam Singer, a thirty-seven-year-old art advisor. Fed up with his partner and his life in New York, Sam flies to Berlin to attend a gallery opening. There he finds a once-divided city facing an identity crisis of its own. In Berlin the past is everywhere: the graffiti-stained streets, the candlelit cafés and techno clubs, the astonishing mash-up of architecture, monuments, and memorials.

A trip that begins in isolation evolves into one of deep connection and possibility. In an intensely concentrated series of days, Sam finds himself awash in the city, stretched in limbo between his own past and future—in nightclubs with Jeremy, a lonely wannabe DJ; navigating a flirtation with Kaspar, an East Berlin artist he meets at a café; and engaged in a budding relationship with Magda, the enigmatic and icy manager of Sam’s hotel, whom Sam finds himself drawn to and determined to thaw. I Make Envy on Your Disco is at once a tribute to Berlin, a novel of longing and connection, and a coming-of-middle-age story about confronting the person you were and becoming the person you want to be. 
Winner of the Barbara DiBernard Prize in Fiction

It’s the new millennium and the anxiety of midlife is creeping up on Sam Singer, a thirty-seven-year-old art advisor. Fed up with his partner and his...

Advance Praise

“This is a pendulum of a book, swinging between rolling in smoky Kreuzberg techno clubs and strolling the preppy lushness of New York’s Upper West Side, and never being quite sure when or where we’re going to slip off and land. A love letter to Berlin, to travel, and to saying yes to life.”—Alan Cumming

“Eric Schnall’s gorgeous debut is everything you want in a novel—perceptive and witty, melancholy and honest, kind and full of heart. Better yet, his story is populated with the most hilarious and singular characters you could hope to meet on the page.”—Jenny Jackson, New York Times best-selling author of Pineapple Street

“An amazing feat. Wonderful books are like foreign travel itself. You’re dropped someplace unfamiliar, lost in a new language. You begin to feel your way around, and in the hands of a skilled writer like Eric Schnall you slowly but surely fall in love with place, with character, with words, ultimately gaining a new sense of self. I finished I Make Envy on Your Disco completely enchanted, and I can’t wait to book a return trip to Schnall’s work.”—Steven Rowley, New York Times best-selling author of The Celebrants

“One of the most delightful, smart, surprising, and unexpectedly affirming books I’ve ever read. Not unlike protagonist Sam Singer—who has fled his life in New York for an exquisitely rendered Berlin—I fell in love with every character who crosses his path.”—Steve Adams, Pushcart Prize–winning author of Remember This

“What if a city and the people you meet there get so under your skin that you see once more that life is full of beauty and possibility? I Make Envy on Your Disco will remind you that growing older is not just about what you leave behind but also about new beginnings, new relationships, and new ways of living in the world.”—Anton Hur, National Book Award finalist and author of Toward Eternity 

“This is a pendulum of a book, swinging between rolling in smoky Kreuzberg techno clubs and strolling the preppy lushness of New York’s Upper West Side, and never being quite sure when or where we’re...

Available Editions

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ISBN 9781496239013
PRICE $21.95 (USD)

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Average rating from 8 members

Featured Reviews

4 stars unique, interesting and kinda weird at points in the best way. Thanks for the ARC and my gosh I would recommend

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I truly enjoyed the prose in this book, but I just could not connect to the character and I wasn’t finding myself engaged in his story. It had a very Holden Caulfield quality, which just isn’t for me. However, I can see many people enjoying this book, and it is beautifully written.

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This is really beautiful, a lot of gorgeous quotes, and is the perfect book for anyone in a long term relationship, loves traveling alone and meeting new people, and ultimately wants a cozy read about life and it’s ups and downs.

This was unique and entertaining, I would recommend it, I didn’t personally connect to the characters on a deep level because I am a homebody who hasn’t experienced life the same way, but still appreciate this all the same!

Thank you to NetGalley, the publisher and the author for this gifted eARC!

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This book captured Berlin at the beginning of the 21st century perfectly - I felt like I was back on the streets and in the cafes and clubs. Some of the plot twists were pretty improbable and I had a hard time believing in the main character as a successful art advisor b/c he seemed so hapless much of the time. But the world building was just fantastic! Also, LOVE the title.

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I enjoyed this book. The writing really immersed me in the story which I loved! The details of the environment featured in the book really make me want to go back to Berlin.

Although there were points where I felt disconnected from the characters, probably due to being in drastically different life situations, I enjoyed learning about the characters lives and following Sam through Berlin.

This was an enjoyable read and I’m sure folks who enjoy literary fiction will enjoy reading!

Thanks to NetGalley and University of Nebraska Press for the ARC!

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This was a no for me. I ended up DNF’ing this book fairly quickly. I found myself not engaged with the characters at all. I also found the authors penchant to have foreign language in the text without translation to be very annoying. I felt like this book was going to continue down this road and instead of put myself through the angst of plodding through a book that I was not enjoying, I decided to cut my loses and stop.

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for the opportunity to read this novel, in exchange for my honest review!

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While I greatly admired the descriptive writing and the opportunity to feel the atmosphere of Berlin, I simply couldn't get into the story or characters at all. That's just me. Your mileage may differ.

Thank you to NetGalley for an advance copy of this book. There are readers who will absolutely love it.

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My best guess at the translation of "I Make Envy on Your Disco" is "I'm jealous of your party"... but it took a long time to get there. The title intrigued me enough to read it though.

I found this book engaging at times but overall the plot dragged and Sam is a bit melancholy throughout. An art dealer and lifelong New Yorker who can't figure out his life and goes to Berlin for a gallery/exhibition opening. He mostly blows off work, which is where it gets interesting. Three stars for the lack of resolution on anything by the end.

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