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Marcus Speh

German writer, Marcus Speh, author of 'Thank You For Your Sperm,' began to write English prose seriously in 2008. Since 2009, his short fiction has been published widely both in print and online magazines, nominated and shortlisted for various awards and prizes.


"Though this is flash fiction it lingers in the mind for much longer. Entire histories are suggested in these small pieces. Not a word is wasted either."

– Beach Sloth

"[T]hese stories and essays—for lack of a better word—are journeys into the writer’s interior world, or better: journeys to that interface between the fictional and the real, to that place where art happens."

– Christopher Allen

"[N]o words wasted; no gratuitous action or shock for shock’s sake; nothing but excellent craft and imagination."

– Derek Osborne



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Thank You For Your Sperm

A Certain Balanced Unbalance


Books, in the mega-multitudes, have been penned about life, the great sorrows, what is redemptive, and what will never be achieved. Other books cast their nets across magic, those unexplained, underlying properties and prophecies that can light up the imagination. Thank You For Your Sperm, a story collection of quirky and unusual title, examines both life and magic. Together. For what is life if not imbued with a certain balanced unbalance the author seems to suggest as he begins with his prologue:


I am among the many, most definite and most certain: me. Definite: because I know where I begin though not where I will end. Certain: because of the many that have told me that I am, some more, some less, kindly. . .

This debut collection mixes the sacred and profane, beauty and beast, the strange and the wondrous. Not necessarily in that order. Or any type of defined order other than The Serious Writer segment (and even that gives way to whimsy by including two non-serious writer stories) (though I’m sure Speh had his reasons). Rather, the stories in this book seem quarantined like hungry orphans: Read me, they appear to shout from their temporary cots, take me home and love me; or better yet make love to me. Speh’s voices are consistently on pitch, his plots and settings well defined. There is a clatter in the book similar to the way Chekhov made his stories come alive.

An excerpt from “At A Welsh Wedding”:

. . .Because of the Captain’s former legendary sexual prowess there were rumors that moved the relationship between the two families into the unchaste neighborhood of a murky, primitive mélange. . . The groom was the Captain’s spitting image: tall as a larch, large head spiked with black hair, deeply set yellow eyes the size of small oysters… The bride was petite, blonde and busty, with a broad mouth full of happy teeth, given to chatter. . . Then he saw Captain Cat sit in a corner, his eyes closed, his head trembling slightly, clutching his wedding gift, a small laced-up dusty linen bag filled with fifty pebble-sized diamonds. The Captain was now considered a human liability. Doctors from London to Lima had pronounced their diagnoses. . . manic, depressive, schizophrenic, bipolar, paranoid, cyclothymic, borderline, or a genius. . . .

As for Speh’s own particular genius, it might be found lurking behind a potted palm, in the shadow of a half open door, or perhaps slouched low at the wheel of a low slung car: wherever is less noticeable than what is going on in his stories. This book is teeming with heart. It’s funny, too. Highly recommended for all who love literature at its most vibrant.

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  1. Tim Young said on 09/19/13 at 5:02 pm Reply

    Thanks Susan. Marcus is on of the most productive people I’ve ever met. We met through Skype a little while back when i had the pleasure of an interview. We had such a good time as his energies poured right through my computer screen.
    I am pleased to see such a favorable review for his new book. This man knows how to work it.
    Congratulations are in order!


    Marcus Speh said on 09/22/13 at 2:57 pm

    @Tim Thank you for thanking Susan and for your comment — I remember our interview, conducted between New York and Berlin, with extreme fondness: your questions were both intimate and clever and the interview is one of the freshest I’ve ever given. Thank you for your appreciation and for your support & cheers to the Big Apple!

    Susan Tepper said on 09/23/13 at 9:51 am

    Tim, it was a breeze to review this book because of my deep admiration for the writing and its author. Thanks so much for your wonderful comments! Susan

  2. Marcus Speh said on 09/22/13 at 3:13 pm Reply

    @Susan — thank you for this lovely review & to The Lit Pub for an amazing presentation. I come here more often than I should . . . not just because of your perceptive comments & your well-chosen quotations from the text but also because being paired up with the dream team Lydia Davis, Charles Baudelaire and Robert Walser is every flash fiction writer’s fantasy. I salute you as I’m retreating into the Berlin night, inspired by your words: “…lurking behind a potted palm, in the shadow of a half open door, or perhaps slouched low at the wheel of a low slung car…” — how very well you know my penchant for noir!


    Susan Tepper said on 09/23/13 at 9:52 am

    Marcus, I’m very happy you are pleased with the review! The Lit Pub does a magnificent presentation!

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