Joseph Kertes - The Afterlife of Stars - Little, Brown Book Group

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  • Hardback £19.99
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    • ISBN:9780316308113
    • Publication date:26 Jan 2017

The Afterlife of Stars

By Joseph Kertes

  • Paperback
  • £13.99

"The Afterlife of Stars moved me more than any other novel I've read in recent memory." --Tim O'Brien

A Brother's Love is Forever

As Russian tanks roll through the cobblestone streets of Budapest and shots ring out, young Robert and Attila Beck, inseparable brothers, peer from the boot of a toppled statue of Stalin at the first grisly signs of revolution. The year is 1956. That October day, Russian soldiers will storm their family home, prompting the boys' hurried escape from the city with their parents, grandmother, and two cousins. Not all will survive. Their immediate destination is Paris, and the town house of Hermina, their great-aunt, once a renowned opera singer, now a recluse who wears long gloves to preserve her dignity against a past scarred by an unspeakable violence.

Along the way, these two brothers encounter mysterious fellow travelers, witness the bewildering sights of a nation in transition, and grapple with rivalry and loss, while never losing their capacity for joy or their appreciation of humor, and each other, as they stare down the unaccountable and the absurd. Robert, the younger, idolizes the fiery Attila, whose growing edge of anger and rebellion threatens to endanger them both. As exiles in Paris, they seek adventure and whatever semblance of home they might find, from the unfamiliar streets to the labyrinthine sewers beneath. When the duo uncovers a long-held family secret involving a double agent and a daring Holocaust rescue, this novel hurtles toward its cataclysmic conclusion. A fleeting decision by Attila has consequences that will last a lifetime, and the bond that has proved unbreakable may be the brothers' undoing.

With dazzling storytelling and a firm belief in the power of humor in the face of turmoil, Joseph Kertes has crafted a fierce saga of identity and love that resonates through its final page. The Afterlife of Stars is not only a stirring account of one displaced family's possibilities for salvation, but also an extraordinary tale of the singular and enduring ties of brotherhood.

Biographical Notes

Joseph Kertes was born in Hungary but escaped with his family to Canada after the revolution of 1956. He studied English at York University and the University of Toronto. His novel Gratitude won the National Jewish Book Award for fiction. Kertes founded Humber College's distinguished creative writing and comedy programs. He is currently Humber's dean of creative and performing arts.

  • Other details

  • ISBN: 9780316308120
  • Publication date: 25 Jan 2018
  • Page count: 256
  • Imprint: Little, Brown US


Kristen Iskandrian
Kristen Iskandrian

It's the early 1990s, and as a new college student, Agnes is caught between the broken home she leaves behind and the wilderness of campus life. What she needs most is her mother, who has disappeared once and for all, and her brother, who left the family tragically a few years prior. As Agnes tries to find her footing, she writes letters to her mother to conjure a closeness they never. But when she finds out she is pregnant, Agnes begins to contend with what it means to be a mother and, in some ways, what it means to be your own mother. The end of the world as she knows it is also the beginning of a brand new one.

Amanda Jennings

AMANDA JENNINGS read History of Art at Cambridge University. She has worked at the BBC as a researcher and assistant producer. Married with three daughters, she lives in Henley. She is currently writing her next novel.

Amber Dermont

Amber Dermont has published her short stories in numerous literary magazines and anthologies. She currently serves as an Associate Professor of English and Creative Writing at Agnes Scott College in Decatur, Georgia.

Anja de Jager

Anja de Jager is a London-based native Dutch speaker who writes in English. She draws inspiration from cases that her father, a retired police detective, worked on in the Netherlands. Anja worked in the City for twenty years but is now a full-time writer. She is currently working on the next Lotte Meerman novel.

Denise Welch

Denise Welch was born in Whitley Bay in 1958. She is an award-winning actress, TV presenter and author of two Sunday Times bestselling autobiographies. Her many credits include Coronation St, Soldier Soldier, Waterloo Road and Boy Meets Girl, to name a few. She is also an accomplished theatre actress.Denise was a panelist on popular daytime show Loose Women for several years.She is married to artist Lincoln Townley and has two sons, Matthew and Louis, and stepson Lewis. She now lives a quiet, party-free life in rural Cheshire.

Derek Wilson

DEREK WILSON is a renowned Tudor historian. A graduate of Peterhouse, Cambridge, he has written over 50 critically acclaimed books including A Brief History of the Circumnavigators, and The Uncrowned Kings of England, as well as recent biographies of Charlemagne and Holbein.He is a writer and presenter for radio and television and is also the founder of the Cambridge History festival. He lives in North Devon. Visit his website:

Diane Janes

DIANE JANES grew up in Birmingham and has lived in the north of England for the last twenty years. Between marrying and raising two children she worked in seemingly every field, from mortgages to engineering, until she gave up the day job to write full time. This resulted in two shortlistings for the CWA Debut Dagger and subsequent publication. The Pull of the Moon was shortlisted for the 2010 CWA John Creasey (New Blood) Dagger.

Elizabeth Knox

Elizabeth Knox is one of New Zealand's leading writers. She is the author of ten novels, including The Vintner's Luck (longlisted for the Orange Prize 1999). Elizabeth was made an Arts Foundation Laureate in 2000 and an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 2002. She lives in Wellington with her husband and son.

Emma Blair

Emma Blair was a pen name for Scottish actor and author Iain Blair, who began writing in his spare time and whose first novel, Where No Man Cries, was published in 1982. During a writing career spanning three decades he produced some thirty novels, but his true identity remained a secret until 1998 when his novel Flower of Scotland was nominated for the RNA Romantic Novel of the Year award. He was one of Britain's most popular authors and his books among the most borrowed from libraries. Iain Blair died in July 2011.

Fiona Melrose

Fiona Melrose was born in Johannesburg but has spent the majority of her adult life in the UK, first in London and then in East Anglia. She moved to Suffolk to concentrate on her writing and it is there that Midwinter was conceived. Previously Fiona has worked in academia, NGO's, public affairs and as an emerging markets analyst. She continues to keep a foot in both continents and is currently spending the majority of her time back in South Africa where she is completing her second novel.

Gabrielle Zevin

Gabrielle Zevin was raised by parents who took her to the library like it was church. She suspects that is why she became a writer. Her career began at age fourteen when an angry letter to her local newspaper about a Guns 'n' Roses concert resulted in a job as a music critic. Over eight novels for adults and young people, she has written about female soldiers in Iraq, mafia princesses in retro-future New York City, teenage girls in the afterlife, talking dogs, amnesiacs, and the difficulties of loving one person over many years. Her last novel, The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry, was a New York Times bestseller.

J. Courtney Sullivan

J. COURTNEY SULLIVAN is the New York Times best-selling author of the novels The Engagements, Maine, and Commencement. Maine was named a 2011 Time magazine Best Book of the Year and a Washington Post Notable Book. The Engagements was one of People Magazine's Top Ten Books of 2013 and an Irish Times Best Book of the Year, and has been translated into seventeen languages. She has contributed to The New York Times Book Review, the Chicago Tribune, New York magazine, Elle, Glamour, Allure, Real Simple, and O: The Oprah Magazine, among many other publications. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.

James Renner

James Renner is the author of two books of nonfiction that detail his adventures in investigative journalism: Amy: My Search for Her Killer and The Serial Killer's Apprentice. His work has been featured in Best American Crime Reporting and Best Creative Nonfiction. He lives in Ohio.

Jane Bailey

Jane Bailey taught Italian and French in Bristol, where she wrote Promising (shortlisted for the Dillon's Prize) and An Angel in Waiting. Tommy Glover's Sketch of Heaven and Mad Joy are her third and fourth novels.

Janice Y. K. Lee

Janice Y. K. Lee was born and raised in Hong Kong. She graduated from Harvard College with a degree in English and American Literature and Language. A former editor at Elle, she lives in New York with her husband and four children.

Jeffrey Cranor

Jeffrey Cranor co-writes the hit podcast, novel and touring live show Welcome to Night Vale. He has also written more than one hundred short plays with the New York Neo-Futurists, co-wrote and co-performed a two-man show about time travel with Joseph, and collaborated with choreographer (also wife) Jillian Sweeney to create three full-length dance pieces. Jeffrey lives in New York State.

Joan Collins

JOAN COLLINS, OBE, has appeared in some sixty films and many television series, including the highly rated TV drama Dynasty. Her books have sold over 50 million copies in 30 languages. A devoted humanitarian, she lends her support and celebrity to causes that include finding a cure for breast cancer.

John Burdett

John Burdett was brought up in North London and worked as a lawyer in Hong Kong. To date he has published seven novels, including the Bangkok series: Bangkok 8, Bangkok Tattoo, Bangkok Haunts, The Godfather of Kathmandu, and Vulture Peak.

Jonathan Trigell

Jonathan Trigell was born in Hertfordshire, but now lives in Chamonix Mont Blanc in France. He is the author of four thematically very different novels: Boy A; Cham; Genus; and The Tongues of Men or Angels, published 2015.Much acclaimed, Jonathan has won the Waverton Award for best first novel; the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize, for best book in the commonwealth by an author under thirty five; the Italian Edoardo Kihlgren Prize, for a translated novel; and the inaugural World Book Day Prize, for the most discussion worthy novel by a living writer. Jonathan's first novel - Boy A - was dramatized by Cuba Pictures, Film 4 and the Weinstein Co. The production was directed by John Crowley and starred Andrew Garfield, Katie Lyons and Peter Mullan. Boy A subsequently won four BAFTA Awards, the Jury Prize at the Berlin Film Festival and the Jury and Public Prizes at the Dinard Film Festival.

Joseph Fink

Joseph Fink created and co-writes the Welcome to Night Vale podcast, novel and touring live show. In his mid-twenties he started Commonplace Books, producing two collections of short works which he edited at his office job when his boss wasn't looking. He is from California but doesn't live there anymore.