OctoberFest: Nooteboom, Stead And Ferrari

It is the time of the year when the big guns are rolled out, the celebrity memoirs and cookery bibles that will vie for space round the Christmas tree and nary be purchased for upwards of fifty per cent of cover price.

This October, MacLehose Press brings you the new novel by New Zealand author C.K. Stead, Cees Nooteboom’s long-awaited history/travelogue/journal Roads to Berlin and the first novel in translation by Jérôme Ferrari, a new name that is not going to go away.

In 1989 Cees Nooteboom was in Berlin at the invitation of the German Academic Exchange Service. He decided to keep a diary, initially a humdrum affair detailing the concerts and exhibitions he attended. But then history caught up with him, as it tends to do with those of us touched by greatness. The Wall came down, and Nooteboom was there to observe a great turning point in twentieth-century history.

This is the starting point for Roads to Berlin (Hardback, £20). Since that seminal moment, Nooteboom has returned many times to Germany, and has witnessed the country’s challenging path from reunification to the present day. The English edition has extra chapters about the Eurozone crisis that were written this year and have not appeared in an other edition of the book. Below you can watch Nooteboom talking about Roads to Berlin in an interview from 2011.

Risk (Hardback, £16.99) is the new novel by C.K. Stead, perhaps New Zealand’s most acclaimed writer ever, author of novels including Talking About O’Dwyer, Mansfield and, most recently, My Name was Judas.

It is an incisive and lucidly observed novel about the events of the last decade told through the eyes of New Zealand lawyer who walks into a role in the banking sector in London at a time when the going is very, very good. But when he learns of the deaths of two friends within a week, intrigue begins to intrude on his contentment, and life begins to feel a little more precarious.

Jérôme Ferrari’s first novel in English translation, Where I Left My Soul (Hardback, £12.00), is a staggeringly well-written bombshell of a book, set during France’s doomed colonial war in Algeria, one of the bitterest and most savage of the last century.

It tells the story of Capitaine Degorce, an officer who is charged with identifying and eliminating the leaders of the Front de Libération Nationale. Degorce himself was once a captive of the Nazis and then of the Vietnamese, and begins to feel a strange kinship with a captive FLN commander known as Tahar. But an old friend from the war in Vietnam, Lieutenant Andreani, now in charge of executions, is determined to put a noose around the Algerian’s neck.




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