51 results 1-20
Anna Heymes, the wife of a senior government official, suffers from amnesia and from terrifying hallucinations: she doesn't always recognise her husband's face and sometimes not even her own. With the help of a psychiatrist, she learns that she has had a most complex form of facial surgery and now looks nothing like she did before. From this moment, two questions haunt her: Who did that to her and why?
In Paris's 10th arrondissement - the Turkish district - two police officers are trying to solve the mystery of the torture and subsequent killing of three clandestine Turkish women workers. One of the policemen is a newly graduated inspector, the other a regular of the disrtict, supposed to be retired. As the investigation develops they discover that the "Grey Wolves", a ruthless group of far-right Turkish mafia, might be responsible for these particularly atrocious murders.
As Anna is trying to find out who she was before she became amnesiac, she learns that she used to be closely linked to the Grey Wolves. Now she has no choice but to confront an astonishing and horrible truth.
Timo von Bock's release by the Czar from nine years' incarceration does not spell the end of the Baron's troubles: he is confined to his Livonian estate to live under the constant eye of police informers planted among his own household, and is subjected to endless humiliations. It is claimed that he is a madman and in need of 'protection': a man would need to be insane, after all, to have taken a Czar at his word when asked for a candid appraisal of the state's infirmities.
From the year of his release from prison and return to his wife Eeva, a woman of peasant stock to whom, with her brother Jakob, he has given a solid education, the Baron's life is recorded in a secret journal by this same Jakob, a shrewd and observant house-guest.
Reconstructing the events leading up to the Baron's incarceration in 1818 and subsequent to his release in 1827, Jakob little by little brings to light mysteries surrounding the 'Czar's madman'. Was his madness genuine? What was the secret understanding between him and his boon companion Czar Alexander I, who committed him to prison?
In The Czar's Madman Jaan Kross weaves together the elements of intrigue surrounding those historical characters who survived in post-Napoleonic Russia, and by a skillful shifting of chronology and viewpoints, creates a superbly rich and moving narrative.
Winner of France's Best Foreign Book Award.
Published: 27 Jul 2001
"I asked you to write a story about love, not a story about crime!" he yelled, and I answered, "I'm sorry, but in my mind they've become inseparable."
In the middle of the night, a man makes a phone call to his best friend. He needs help, he says - and the loan of a heavy-duty shovel. The story of Christian Lang is one of obsession both physical and emotional. A famous novelist and television chat-show host, Lang wants to keep his affair with the enchanting Sarita a secret, but she has her own reasons for keeping it quiet too. Lang finds himself caught up in a sinister love triangle with Sarita and her violent ex-husband. He knows that his life is in danger but so great is Lang's passion for his lover that he is unable to stay away.
As Lang is drawn further into a spiral of lust, lies and violence his judgement becomes increasingly irrational. This is a compelling story about love, hatred and obsession and of how these can override the emotion of intense fear. Westö has produced a superbly crafted tale of the terrifying lengths to which a man will go to fuel his addiction to a woman.
The Year of Terror, 1937. Zybin, an exiled intellectual and archaeologist in the far province of Alma-Ata, finds himself wrongly accused of a crime during the darkest days of Stalin's reign. Soon, he and his colleagues are caught up in an ambitious Cheka investigator's attempts to set up a show trial to rival those taking place in Moscow.
Vivid, courageous and defiant, The Faculty of Useless Knowledge is the crowning achievement by the author of The Keeper of Antiquities and The Dark Lady and draws heavily on autobiographical experience. First published in Russian in 1978, it is a masterpiece of anti-totalitarian literature, and stands alongside the works of Solzhenitsyn and Bulgakov in illuminating the chaos, absurdity and bureaucratic labyrinths of Soviet Russia.
Published: 11 Feb 2013
When these stories were written the Estonians were not masters of their own house: the Soviets had been the occupying Power since 1940, apart from the three years 1941-44 when the Nazis were in occupation. Young Estonians, conscripted into the armies of both belligerents, found themselves compelled to fight each other. This is the background of these six stories featuring Peeter Mirk, a young law student who is more often in than out of prison and labour camp during these years - like his creator Jaan Kross. Forever carrying a charge of guilt that he has only contributed to his friends' misfortunes, he describes two thwarted attempts at escape ("The Wound", "Lead Piping"), his own dilemma when he can save his life only by sacrificing a friend's ("The Stahl Grammar"), his hand in a practical joke perpetrated by prisoners on one of their number in Tallinn Central Jail, which goes badly wrong ("The Conspiracy"). The last two stories (" The Ashtray", "The Day Eyes Were Opened") involve train journeys, chance encounters, and the unavoidable necessity of giving Fate a run for its money.
If the tone is necessarily sombre as Kross recalls the years when Hitler and Stalin determined his countrymen's destiny, a wry humour keeps slipping through at every turn, which will suggest to the reader that Peeter Mirk must be cousin to the Good Soldier Schweik.
Published: 19 Apr 2011
Published: 27 Apr 2010
Bergljot Haff (Author), Sverre Lyngstad (Translator)Translated by Sverre Lyngstad. Idun Hov's experiences condemn her to a life spent mostly in a mental hospital where she begins to write. The trials of Idun Hov's life and of Norway itself enter her writing, Idun's own experiences fuse with the German occupation of Norway, the shame of collaboration and the upheavals of a small nation betrayed.
Published: 19 Apr 2011
A Swiss woman, Anna, walks the paths of a cemetery in present-day Algiers. She is searching for two names, those of her children, murdered more than 40 years previously by the FLN, the organization that fought for Algerian independence from the French in the early 1960s and whose leaders were convinced that the children's father, Nassreddine, was a traitor to their cause.
Anna has returned to an Algeria rife with terrorism and the excesses of fundamentalism. "The devil has entered our country, and his footprints are everywhere," her friend Majid tells her as she sets out, undaunted, disguised in Muslim dress, on a perilous quest to find out whether the man she once loved is still alive. She is guided through the harsh and beautiful landscape by Jallal, a boy who sells peanuts in the Place des Martyrs. Captured by the militant "forces of Allah", the woman and boy must witness and endure all manner of brutality and degradation before Anna's and Nassreddine's destinies can finally converge.
Anouar Benmalek's courageous novel confronts the tragedy of Algeria, its immediate past and present, as no other writer has done since Albert Camus, and in the process he tells a love story of immense tenderness.
Published: 18 Oct 2001
Published: 5 Apr 2011
Set in the town of Travnik, Bosnian Chronicle presents the struggle for supremacy in a region that stubbornly refuses to submit to any outsider. The time is Napoleonic and the novel, both in its historical scope and psychological subtlety, is Tolstoyan. Inevitably, in its portrayal of conflict and fierce ethnic loyalties, the story is eerily relevant to readers today.
Ottoman viziers, French consuls, and Austrian plenipotentiaries are consumed by a ceaseless game of diplomacy and double-dealing: expansive and courtly face-to-face, brooding and scheming behind closed doors. As they have for centuries, the Bosnians themselves observe and endure the machinations of greater powers that vie, futilely, to absorb them. Ivo Andric’s masterwork is imbued with the richness and complexity of a region that has brought much tragedy to our century and known so little peace.
Published: 1 Jul 2015
Published: 10 Feb 2005
Published: 5 Apr 2011
Translated by Eric Dickens
Treading Air follows the life of Ullo Paerand through 30 years of violent political upheaval. Abandoned by his father as a child, he grows up to become an electoral assistant to the parliamentary office in Tallinn and it is in this position that Ullo witnesses first the Soviet and then the German occupation of Estonia. Forced out of his honest profession Ullo becomes involved with the Resistance but, when many Estonians flee the country, he chooses to remain. An interlude of a decade shows much has changed since the end of the War; Soviet influence is marked in the style of government and the manner of the people. The narrative unfolds in stories imparted to an unknown "author" by a 70-year-old Ullo. Just before the end, however, Kross introduces a teasing ambiguity: Ullo dies before he is able to answer the last question about his life.
Published: 18 May 2015
In the white heat the sky is opaque, the air leaden and the light intense. A single cavalryman wonders at the oppressive atmosphere of the unfamiliar countryside he is entering. Exile from his Italian homeland as well as an innate, stubborn pride compel him onward, into the heart of Provence and into the acute cholera epidemic which ravaged the country in the 1830s.
Giono here directs a hallucinatory, lyrical narrative in which the mortal odours, the violent contractions of those who meet with the disease and the fear of a people confronted with insuperable natural forces are palpable. Death pervades the novel, but Angelo does not cease journeying, dodging blockades and quarantine imposed by troops - even seeking temporary refuge on the roofs of one town - determined to find his childhood friend, Giuseppe. Others join him on the road, and leave him. Only the young woman, Pauline de Théus, who calmly receives the intruder who one night descends from the roofs, proves a worthy travelling companion.
Published: 1 Dec 2009
In Vienna, in the winter of 1910, the world of chess is aghast and the city abuzz. The unthinkable has happened: in the fifth round of the World Championship the renowned defending champion, Emanuel Lasker, has made an elementary error and lost a match. The little-known Austrian challenger, Carl Haffner, stands in the limelight, the title within his grasp.
Haffner is a shy and fragile man, brought up in extreme poverty, from which his only escape is his exceptional gift for chess. His is a game shaped by the harsh experiences he has undergone. He has an obsessive fear of defeat, and his tactics and overall strategy are based on the sheer artistry of defence. But this confrontation with Lasker is not merely a clash between rook and knight; it is a collision between two men with vastly differing attitudes to life: the wealthy, worldly, self-confident champion on the one hand, the lonely, idealistic and penniless Haffner on the other.
Carl Haffner is modelled on the Austrian grandmaster Karl Schlechter, and in his brilliant first novel Thomas Glavinic brings to life both the events surrounding the ten-match world championship and the atmosphere of the cafés and chess clubs of Vienna and Berlin in the years before the First World War. With mature insight, he analyses the reasons for Haffner's view of the world, a world that is thrown into further confusion by the appearance of the fascinating and beautiful Anna.
In the beginning of the winter thaw, Lars Lennart Westin has learned that he will not live through the spring. Told through the journals of this schoolteacher turned apiarist, The Death of a Beekeeper is his gentle, courageous, and sometimes comic meditation on living with pain.
Westin has refused to surrender the time left to him to the impersonality of a hospital, preferring to take his fate upon himself, to continue his solitary, reflective life in the Swedish countryside. While he watches his inner landscape reforming, the relentlessly intimate burning in his gut provides a point of psychological detachment. 'We begin again,' he insists, 'we never give up.'
Published: 11 Apr 2016
Of Sailor's twin sons, the elder is dead and the younger is missing.A simple woodsman, Sailor resolves to find the boy, fearing the worst.Soon after he and his friend Antonio set off, they stumble across a blind girl giving birth. This strange circumstance proves typical of their journey into the heart of the forest. Sailor and Antonio discover that, though the lost Twin is alive, he is the target of a manhunt. As Sailor and Antonio attempt to rescue Twin, the adventures unravel at a breathtaking speed. The net tightens around the three men until one of them is trapped and killed. And only then does the real action of this remarkable picaresque novel begin. In Giono's universe, no murder shall go unavenged.
This tale of primitive love and vendetta is cast in a timeless landscape of river, mountain and forest. With its taut, fast-paced story and pastoral setting, The Song of the World is another triumph from the celebrated author of The Man Who Planted Trees.
Published: 1 Dec 2009