The launch of a brilliant new British talent, perfect for fans of Alone in Berlin
by Hans Fallada.
The war is over, but Berlin is a desolate sea of rubble. There is a shortage of everything: food, clothing, tobacco. The local population is scrabbling to get by. Kasper Meier is one of these Germans, and his solution is to trade on the black market to feed himself and his elderly father. He can find anything that people need, for the right price. Even other people.
When a young woman, Eva, arrives at Kasper's door seeking the whereabouts of a British pilot, he feels a reluctant sympathy for her but won't interfere in military affairs. But Eva is prepared for this. Kasper has secrets, she knows them, and she'll use them to get what she wants. As the threats against him mount, Kasper is drawn into a world of intrigue he could never have anticipated. Why is Eva so insistent that he find the pilot? Who is the shadowy Frau Beckmann and what is her hold over Eva?
Under constant surveillance, Kasper navigates the dangerous streets and secrets of a city still reeling from the horrors of war and defeat. As a net of deceit, lies and betrayal falls around him, Kasper begins to understand that the seemingly random killings of members of the occupying forces are connected to his own situation. He must work out who is behind Eva's demands, and why - while at the same time trying to save himself, his father and Eva.
The finest thing in the novel is the imaginative recreation of time and place, the bombed and ruined city over which the past hangs darkly, where no possible future can yet be envisaged . . . A decidedly accomplished first novel . . . where the keenness of observation and the rhythms of the prose call Graham Greene to mindA powerful evocation of shattered lives trying to reconnect - and a heartbreaking story of the pain of compassionA gripping mystery set in a surreal and terrifying post-war Berlin where nothing is quite what it seems. I loved itWhat I loved about this book were two things above all: firstly, a moment in time and place - devastated post-war Berlin - in which things were done that one knew nothing about, and were shocking. Secondly, he brought Kasper and Eva and the others' experience to pungent physical life with his sensual description of sight, sound, and above all smell. It was real on the page. A great achievement and a tremendous debutThe plot is tight, but it's the unflinching depiction of a desperate world in post-war Berlin, conveyed in beautiful prose, that makes this thriller so powerful
Ben Fergusson is a writer, editor and translator. Born in Southampton in 1980, he studied English Literature at Warwick University and Modern Languages at Bristol University, and has worked for ten years as an editor and publisher in the art world.
His short fiction has appeared in publications in both the UK and the US and has won and been shortlisted for a range of prizes, including the 2010 Bridport Prize. From 2009-2010 he edited the literary journal Chroma and since 2013 has been the editor of the short story magazine Oval Short Fiction. Currently based in London, his first novel, The Spring of Kasper Meier, was written during a four-year period living and working in Berlin.
The biggest fiction debut launch for L, B/Abacus in 2014, from an extremely talented and exciting new writer.Vividly evocative of post-WW2 Berlin, this is a perfect read for fans of William Boyd's Restless
and Alone in Berlin
by Hans Fallada - tightly plotted, emotionally gripping and a brilliant sense of place and period.A brilliant read for book clubs, combining a compelling narrative drive with the retelling of history from a 'forgotten' or lost perspective - a 52 year-old gay man living in post-WW2 Berlin, whose sexuality doesn't define his experience, but informs his life and what happens to him.