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Publishers Weekly: "In this intriguing, disconcerting novel of unrequited love from Berlin writer Krausser...Mitchell's able translation showcases Krausser's keen investigation of memory and the motivations for loving and telling tales."

Date: Jun 16 2008

In this intriguing, disconcerting novel of unrequited love from Berlin writer Krausser (The Great Bagarozy), Alexander von Brücken, a cloistered and ailing millionaire, narrates his life to an unnamed novelist. Young Alex comes of age under Hitler and Allied air raids. His parents die tragically; he narrowly escapes death himself, eventually taking over the family armament business, which continues to thrive after the war. Throughout his life, von Brücken (as he's called as an adult) pines for Sofie Kurtz, the daughter of workers at the family factory, who was his first kiss at 14. For Sophie, Alex is a blip on her childhood radar, but Alex uses his influence to track and even shape the course of Sophie's life as she moves from kindergarten teacher to Red Army Front revolutionary to demoralized exile in the German Democratic Republic. As Alex and the novelist reconstruct, imagine and otherwise intrude upon Sofie's life, the line between truth and fiction disappears—and along with it, the illusion of free will. Mitchell's able translation showcases Krausser's keen investigation of memory and the motivations for loving and telling tales.