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Samuel Perlman, the elderly narrator of Yasmina Reza's deliriously dyspeptic novel, is surrounded by happy people. His wife Nancy is thrilled to be a member of the human race. His grown son is content crisscrossing the world to "sample exotic fruit with the savages." But Samuel himself refuses to be happy and his attempt to explain his refusal (half to his son and half to himself) generates an epic, blasphemous, and hilarious rant against the compromises of his life. Whether he is recounting his pal Lionel's heroic battle against impotence; lamenting the loss of his great love, the irresistible Marisa Botton; or pondering the possibility of a new love in the person of one Genevieve Abramowitz, the droll, irascible Perlman is one of the great talkers of contemporary fiction. And Desolation is one of the most dazzling performances ever written for one voice.From the Trade Paperback edition.to his final overtures. Yasmina Reza has written a symphonic monologue--a passionate kvetch, a truly original work. From the Hardcover edition.
On a sweltering day in August, a small town drunkenly celebrates its six-hundredth anniversary with a funfair when an anonymous tip leads police to find a young woman brutally beaten, raped, and thrown under the floorboards of the very stage on which her attackers had just played a polka. An eight-member brass band composed of respectable family men with respectable day jobs is charged with the crime. A neophyte defense lawyer, still wet behind the ears and breaking in his attaché case, takes on the trial, only to lose his innocence in the process. So begins Guilt, Ferdinand von Schirach's tense, riveting collection of stories based on real crimes he has known. In these brief, succinct tales, von Schirach calls into question the nature of guilt and the toll it takes--or fails to take--on ordinary people. In "The Illuminati," the popular mean crowd at an all-boys' boarding school wages a vicious attack against an outsider schoolmate, and ends up accidentally killing the boy's beloved teacher. Attempting to hurdle through a midlife crisis, a housewife begins to steal trivial things no one will miss, an act that gives her a rush and staves off depression in "Desire." And in "Snow," an old man whose home is used as a way station for a heroin ring agrees to protect the identity of the lead drug runner, who receives his comeuppance in due course. Compassionate and seen with the same cool, controlled eye that propelled Ferdinand von Schirach's debut collection, Crime, onto best-seller lists, Guilt is a stunning follow-up from one of Germany's finest new writers.
From Bernhard Schlink, the internationally best-selling author of The Reader, come seven provocative and masterfully calibrated stories. A keen dissection of the ways in which we play with truth and less-than-truth in our lives. Summer Lies brims with the delusions, the passions, the outbursts, and the sometimes irrational justifications people make within a mélange of beautifully rendered relationships. In "After the Season," a man falls quickly in love with a woman he meets on the beach but wrestles with his incongruous feelings of betrayal after he learns she's rich. In "Johann Sebastian Bach on Ruegen," a son tries to put his resentment toward his emotionally distant father behind him by proposing a trip to a Back festival but soon realizes, during his efforts to reconnect, that it wasn't his father who was the distant one. A philandering playwright is accused to infidelity by his wife in "The Night in Baden-Baden," but he sees her accusations as nothing more than a means to exculpate himself of his guilt as he carries on with his ways. And in "Stranger in the Night," an obliging professor becomes an accomplice--not entirely unwittingly--to the temporary escape of a charismatic fugitive on a delayed flight from New York to Frankfurt. The truth, as once character puts it, is "passionate, beautiful sometimes, and sometimes hideous, it can make you happy and it can torture you, and it always sets you free." Tantalizingly, so is the act of telling a lie--to others and to ourselves.
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