Author(s): Dan Vyleta
The Second World War is over - and yet it lives on. As the initial phase of denazification draws to a close, people across Vienna begin to rebuild their lives amidst the rubble. Anna Beer returns to the city she fled years earlier upon discovering her husband's infidelity. She has come back to find him and, perhaps, to forgive him. Travelling on the same train is eighteen-year-old Robert Seidel, a schoolboy summoned home to his stepfather's sickbed and the secrets of his family's past. As Anna and Robert navigate an unrecognizable city, beneath the bombed-out ruins a ghost of a man, wrapped in a red scarf, battles demons from his past and hides from a future that is deeply uncertain for all.
Vyleta writes with the sharp, brutal clarity of cinematic freeze frames . Noir meets Gothic - a thrilling tale of war crimes, family secrets, murder and blackmail Independent The atmosphere of postwar Europe, still seething with animosity, is wonderfully evoked and the tangled plot is thrilling The Times This is not your typical thriller ... it is not the twists and turns of the plot that will keep readers turning the pages. It is the atmosphere Vyleta builds up, line by line, of a world of secrets threatening to fall down on the characters' heads at any moment Irish Examiner A literary thriller that is so dripping in atmosphere you half expect Orson Welles to come creeping out of the shadows ... A dark tale of intrigue, interconnected mysteries, hunger, guilt, patricide and revenge. Packed with literary and cinematic references, with a complex plot and a cast of credible characters, this is a seriously good novel from a seriously fine writer Novel of the Week, Mail on Sunday The writing is often stunning. Vyleta's similes are memorable ... Vivid details litter the pages ... The imagery is cinematic, reminiscent of film noir, with exaggerated shadows, and light and shade dancing on walls and wan faces ... This is a compelling novel with all the verve and atmosphere of an Alfred Hitchcock film Leyla Sanai, Independent on Sunday Impressive ... This is not just the past: it is the past as seen fractured and magnified through a lens. It is a place of unremitting strangeness, as real and as true to its own logic as those of Kazuo Ishiguro's Never Let Me Go or Tom McCarthy's Remainder . It has the darkness and seductive excitement of a Metropolis, or a Cabinet of Dr Caligari. You enter it sideways, and your head spins Esi Edugyan, Guardian A literary novel that reads like a spy thriller Metro
Dan Vyleta is the son of Czech refugees who emigrated to Germany in the late 1960s. He holds a PhD in History from the University of Cambridge. His first novel, Pavel & I, gathered immediate international acclaim and was translated into eight languages. His second novel, The Quiet Twin, was shortlisted for the Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize. The Crooked Maid was a finalist for the Scotiabank Giller Prize and won the 2014 J.I. Segal Award. www.danvyleta.com