Anouar Benmalek Haus Publishing, 2011 Library of Congress PQ3989.2.B425R3713 2011 | Dewey Decimal 843.92
Drawn together by the tortured memory of a massacre years ago, a shared experience binds Mathieu, Tahar and Aziz, and has repercussions for Meriem and Chehra, Aziz's wife and daughter. Chehra is abducted, and the kidnapper's brutal demands and threats of violent torture turn this into a tense thriller. But how far will Aziz go to save his family?
With brilliantly vivid irony, a mosaic of voices tells the true story of Switzerland's most notorious bank robbers: Kurt Sandweg and Waldemar Velte. As 1933 draws to a close, the pair arrive in Basel from Wuppertal, Germany. Rebels on the run, they are searching for an escape from the confines of a callously regimented society left impoverished by the Depression and the onset of Nazi power. However, their desperation leads them to a realm outside reality, on a destructive path of vengeance for the world's abhorrent lack of justice. Resolute on their doomed mission, neither expected to fall in love. Seen through the benign eyes of Dorly Schupp, the agonising humanity of their relationships are sharply juxtaposed against the reckless cruelty of their crimes. Yet in a world equally heartless and unremitting, who should shoulder the blame? Capus relates the portrait of these chillingly charismatic figures in a curious blend of documentary and narrative where precision of detail collides with an economy of emotion, and leaves the desolation of their situation stark and blindingly poignant. Suspended between the tragic and comic, Capus's novel mimics the absurd idiosyncrasies of life where often nothing but interpretation is left to determine the sacred from the profane.
In The Atlas of an Anxious Man, Christoph Ransmayr offers a mesmerizing travel diary—a sprawling tale of earthly wonders seen by a wandering eye. This is an exquisite, lyrically told travel story.
Translated by Simon Pare, this unique account follows Ransmayr across the globe: from the shadow of Java’s volcanoes to the rapids of the Mekong and Danube Rivers, from the drift ice of the Arctic Circle to Himalayan passes, and on to the disenchanted islands of the South Pacific. Ransmayr begins again and again with, “I saw. . .” recounting to the reader the stories of continents, eras, and landscapes of the soul. Like maps, the episodes come together to become a book of the world—one that charts the life and death, happiness and fate of people bound up in images of breathtaking beauty.
“One of the German language’s most gifted young novelists.”—Library Journal, on The Terrors of Ice and Darkness
Christmas and the Qur'an
Karl-Josef Kuschel Gingko Library, 2017 Library of Congress BP134.J37K8713 2017 | Dewey Decimal 232.92
The familiar and heartwarming story of Christmas is one of hope, encapsulated by the birth of the infant Jesus. It is also a story that unites Christianity and Islam—two faiths that have often been at odds with each other. The accounts of the Nativity given by the Evangelists Luke and Matthew find their parallels in Surahs 3 and 19 of the Qur’an, which take up the Annunciation to Mary, the Incarnation from the Holy Spirit, and the Nativity.
Christmas and the Qur’an is a sensitive and precise analysis of the Christmas story as it appears in the Gospels and the Qur’an. Karl-Josef Kuschel presents both scriptures in a convincing comparative exegesis and reveals startling similarities as well as significant differences. Kuschel explores how Christians and Muslims read these texts and reveals an intertwining legacy that serves as a base for greater understanding. Without leaving the realm of theology, Kuschel approaches his analysis in a theocentric way by emphasizing the shared belief that God is almighty, which, he argues, can act as a healing suture between Christianity and Islam. Christmas and the Qur’an gives the reader the chance to remember the message of hope that the birth of Jesus brings and invites to a dialogue between Muslims and Christians.
Sebastian Haffner Haus Publishing, 2003 Library of Congress DA566.9.C5H2155 2003 | Dewey Decimal 941.084092
Winston Churchill (1874-1965, KG 1953) Conservative politician, Prime Minister 1940-5 and 1951-5. Perhaps the most determined and inspirational war leader in Britain's history, it was during that darkest summer of 1940 that Churchill's astonishing oratory seemed to rally the nation, from his opening statement to the House of Commons on May 13th that he had 'nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat'. Each successive crisis produced phrases that have resounded ever since, from the danger of invasion after the evacuation of troops from Dunkirk ('their finest hour') to the Battle of Britain (his tribute to the 'Few'). However, he lost the general election in June 1945. But he returned to Downing Street in 1951, finally retiring in 1955.
The world’s most powerful man, Qiánlóng, emperor of China, invites the famous eighteenth-century clockmaker Alister Cox to his court in Beijing. There, in the heart of the Forbidden City, the Englishman and his assistants are to build machines that mark the passing of time as a child or a condemned man might experience it and that capture the many shades of happiness, suffering, love, and loss that come with that passing.
Mystified by the rituals of a rigidly hierarchical society dominated by an unimaginably wealthy, god-like ruler, Cox musters all his expertise and ingenuity to satisfy the emperor’s desires. Finally, Qiánlóng, also known by the moniker Lord of Time, requests the construction of a clock capable of measuring eternity—a perpetuum mobile. Seizing this chance to realize a long-held dream and honor the memory of his late beloved daughter, yet conscious of the impossibility of his task, Cox sets to work. As the court is suspended in a never-ending summer, festering with evil gossip about the monster these foreigners are creating, the Englishmen wonder if they will ever escape from their gilded cage.
Richly imagined and recounted in vivid prose of extraordinary beauty, Cox, or The Course of Time is a stunning illustration of Christoph Ransmayr’s talent for imbuing a captivating tale with intense metaphorical, indeed metaphysical force. More than a meeting of two men, one isolated by power, the other by grief, this is an exploration of mortality and a virtuoso demonstration that storytelling alone can truly conquer time.
The Flying Mountain
Christoph Ransmayr Seagull Books, 2019 Library of Congress MLCM 2019/50022 (P)
In a publishing world that is all too full of realist novels written in undistinguished prose, discernible only by their covers, The Flying Mountain stands out—if for no other reason than that it consists entirely of blank verse. And that form is most suitable for the epic voyage Christoph Ransmayr relates: The Flying Mountain tells the story of two brothers who leave the southwest coast of Ireland on an expedition to Transhimalaya, the land of Kham, and the mountains of eastern Tibet—looking for an untamed, unnamed mountain that represents perhaps the last blank spot on the map. As they advance toward their goal, the brothers find their past, and their rivalry, inescapable, inflecting every encounter and decision as they are drawn farther and farther from the world they once knew.
Only one of the brothers will return. Transformed by his loss, he starts life anew, attempting to understand the mystery of love, yet another quest that may prove impossible. The Flying Mountain is thrilling, surprising, and lyrical by turns; readers looking for something truly new will be rewarded for joining Ransmayr on this journey.
Summer 1918. The First World War is drawing to a close when Léon Le Gall, a French teenager from Cherbourg who has dropped out of school and left home, falls in love with Louise Janvier. Both are severely wounded by German artillery fire, are separated, and believe each other to be dead. Briefly reunited two decades later, the two lovers are torn apart again by Louise's refusal to destroy Léon's marriage and by the German invasion of France. In occupied Paris during the Second World War, where Léon struggles against the abhorrent tasks imposed upon him by the SS, and the wilds of Africa, where Louise confronts the hardships of her primitive environment, they battle the vicissitudes of history and the passage of time for the survival of their love.
The Federmanns live a pleasant but painfully normal life in the Munich suburbs. All that the three children really know about money is that there’s never enough of it in their family.
Every so often, their impish Great-Aunt Fé descends on the city. After repeated cycles of boom and bust, profligacy and poverty, the grand old lady has become enormously wealthy and lives alone in a villa on the shore of Lake Geneva. But what does Great-Aunt Fé want from the Federmanns, her only surviving relatives? This time, she invites the children to tea at her luxury hotel where she spoils, flummoxes, and inspires them. Dismayed at their ignorance of the financial ways of the world, she gives them a crash course in economics that piques their curiosity, unsettles their parents, and throws open a whole new world. The young Federmanns are for once taken seriously and together they try to answer burning questions: Where does money come from? Why are millionaires and billionaires never satisfied? And why are those with the most always showered with more?
In this rich volume, the renowned poet, translator, and essayist Hans Magnus Enzensberger turns his gimlet eye on the mechanisms and machinations of banks and politicians—the human greed, envy, and fear that fuels the global economy. A modern, but moral-less fable, Money, Money, Money! is shot through with Enzensberger’s trademark erudition, wit, and humanist desire to cut through jargon and forearm his readers against obscurantism.
In the spring of 1945 the Allies arrested the physicists they believed had worked on the German nuclear programme. Interned in an English country house owned by MI6, their conversations were secretly recorded. Operation Epsilon sought to determine how close Nazi Germany had come to building an atomic bomb. It was in this quiet setting – Farm Hall, near Cambridge – that the interned physicists first heard of the attack on Hiroshima. Aside from changing the course of history, that night was also one of great shock and personal defeat for the physicists – they were under the assumption that they alone had discovered nuclear fission. This is the story of Nazi Germany’s hunt for a nuclear bomb. It is a tale of the genius and guilt of lauded, respected scientists.
The Qur’an identifies Jesus as a sign of God, and he holds a place as one of the most important prophets in Islam. Looking at Jesus in Islam also reveals both deep differences from and rich connections to the view of Jesus in Christianity. In The Other Prophet, Mouhanad Khorchide and Klaus von Stosch explore and explain the position of the Qur’anic Jesus, with one scholar working from the Muslim and the other from the Christian theological perspective. Their combined research presents a history of Jesus’ presence in the Qur’an and provides astute observations to deepen the understanding of both Christians and Muslims. Here we find that a common view of Jesus from the Muslim and Christian sides is not only possible, but also expands our understanding of Jesus and his message.
Alex Capus’s novels have been runaway best-sellers in Germany, and his novel Léon and Louise received widespread critical acclaim on its English publication in 2012.
A Price to Pay, the fourth of Capus’s novels to be published in English, tells the interwoven stories of three disparate figures from interwar Switzerland: pacifist Felix Bloch, who ends up working on the Manhattan Project; Laura d’Oriano, who wants to become a singer but instead becomes an Allied spy in fascist Italy; and Emile Gillieron, who accompanies Heinrich Schliemann to Troy and becomes one of art’s greatest forgers. Taking off from the only moment in history when all three were in the same place—a November day in 1924 at Zürich Station—Capus traces their diverging paths as they secure their places in the annals of history—but at what price?
Capus takes us on an exploratory journey via the loss of a Spanish vessel laden with gold and jewels in the South Seas, the burial of treasure, an ancient map, and a long and dangerous voyage across the Pacific, to prove that Robert Louis Stevenson's "treasure island" actually exists; and that it exists in a place quite different from where hordes of treasure-hunters have been seeking it for generations. In fact, he posits, it was for this reason alone that Stevenson spent the last five years of his life in Samoa. On a long trip round the Pacific islands with the idea of writing articles for American periodicals, Stevenson, travelling with his beloved wife, Fanny, and stepson Lloyd Osbourne, had no notion of stopping at Samoa when their ship made landfall in December 1889. Yet, only six weeks later, at the age of 39, he would invest all his available assets in a patch of impenetrable jungle and spend the rest of his life there. This book traces what led Stevenson to Samoa and the origins of his famous story. For facing him from this unlikely spot was another island – a conical isle, Tafahi, where legends abound, and it was, Capus suggests, this isle that would cause him to change the course of his life.
Decades after westward expansion swept over it, settled it, and domesticated it, the Wild West remains a potent source of American myth and mystery. But the actual history, and the traces of it that remain, are at least as interesting as the fiction, and in Skidoo, writer and novelist Alex Capus takes us on a fascinating tour of the skeleton of the American West—the ghost towns and collapsing mines that lie far from interstates and airports, lost in history.
Walking in the footsteps of bank robbers and grave diggers, desperadoes and Native Americans, beer brewers and child brides, Capus uncovers story after story of adventure, violence, and exploration. Near Salt Wells, Nevada, he learns the story of a luckless inventor whose corpse was discovered frozen in the desert, an icicle hanging from its nose. In Skidoo, California, he tells us of a brawling bartender, Hootch Simpson, who was hanged twice—once by a mob, once by the law—before being beheaded during his autopsy. And in Flagstaff, Arizona, Capus traces the long-lost origins of Route 66, as a narrow, isolated trail for Edward Fitzgerald Beale’s Camel Corps.
Packed with period detail, and told with a verve and enthusiasm to rival Pecos Bill, the stories in Skidoo are sure to enchant any lover of Western tales or America’s wild history.
A Slap in the Face
Abbas Khider Seagull Books, 2018 Library of Congress PT2711.H54O4713 2018 | Dewey Decimal 833.92
Now in paperback, the touching, timely story of an Iraqi refugee in Germany.
In our era of mass migration, much of it driven by war and its aftermath, A Slap in the Face could not be more timely. It tells the story of Karim, an Iraqi refugee living in Germany whose right to asylum has been revoked in the wake of Saddam Hussein’s defeat. But Hussein wasn’t the only reason Karim left, and as Abbas Khider unfolds his story, we learn both the secret struggles he faced in his homeland and the battles with prejudice, distrust, poverty, and bureaucracy he has to endure in his attempts to make a new life in Germany. As he erupts in frustration at his caseworker, and finally forces her to listen to his story, we get an account of a contemporary life upended by politics and violence, told with a warmth and humor that, while surprising us, does nothing to lessen the outrages Karim describes.
A history of the countries bordering the Black Sea told through the stories of the people who live there.
Fringing the Black Sea is a diverse array of countries, some centuries old and others emerging only after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Jens Mühling travels through this region, telling the stories of people he meets along the way in order to paint a picture of the mix of cultures found here and to understand the present against a history stretching back to the arrival of Ancient Greek settlers and beyond.
A fluent Russian speaker with a knack for gaining the trust of those he meets, Mühling brings together a cast of characters as diverse as the stories he hears, all of whom are willing to tell him their complex, contradictory, and often fantastical tales full of grief and legend. He meets descendants of the so-called Pontic Greeks, whom Stalin deported to Central Asia and who have now returned; Circassians who fled to Syria a century ago and whose great-great-grandchildren have returned to Abkhazia; and members of ethnic minorities like the Georgian Mingrelians or Bulgarian Muslims, expelled to Turkey in the summer of 1989. Mühling captures the region’s uneasy alliance of tradition and modernity and the diverse humanity of those who live there.