A selection of translated fiction for you – always enjoyable to discover.
Publication Date: Available Now from Pushkin Vertigo
Source: Review Copy
The K Apartments for Ladies are occupied by over a hundred unmarried women, once young and lively, now grown and old – and in some cases, evil.
Their residence conceals a secret, a secret connecting the unsolved kidnapping in 1951 of four-year-old George Kraft to the clandestine burial of a child’s body in the basement bath-house. So, when news comes that the building must be moved to make way for a road-building project, more than one tenant waits with apprehension for the grisly revelation that will follow. Then the master key is lost, stolen and re-stolen, and suddenly no-one feels safe.
The Master Key was a quick read for me, strangely tense despite it’s often matter of fact tone – and actually I would call it less a thriller than a multiple arc character study – although, of course, there is a dark deed at the heart of it.
In a series of interlocking stories we meet the residents of the K apartments for young ladies – most of them not so young these days – in and around the time the building is due to be moved. The basement hides a secret however and as we read the truth about it is unraveled.
What I loved about this one was not so much the crime element but the social element, the stories behind the story that unfolds. The author messes with the order of things, with a strong intuitive writing style that really reveals the human sides of the characters being introduced. It weaves a slight magic as you read, immersing you into a very different time, culture and reality.
I thought it was brilliantly done. A very different yet very addictive and oddly endearing read considering the subject matter.
Publication Date: 3rd December from World Editions
Source: Publisher review copy
Fourteen-year old Erik and his friend Edmund spend their summer vacation in 1962 by a Swedish lake, daydreaming about Ewa, a young teacher who looks just like actress Kim Novak. When Ewa’s fiancé is found dead, Erik’s brother is the prime suspect at first, but the actual killer is never found. Twenty-five years later, when Erik happens to come across an article about unsolved crimes, he is overwhelmed by memories about that summer. What really happened back then? And why was Ewa’s fiancé murdered?
The Summer of Kim Novak is a haunting and evocative novel, beautifully written to draw you into another place and time – a true coming of age tale with added mystery and I loved every moment of it.
Hakan Nesser weaves a magical web of intrigue around the reader, this is a tale of friendship, family, love and loss and from building the relationship between the two boys Erik and Edmund to the nuances of how much they can understand about what is going on around them, this is storytelling at it’s best, a reader’s dream.
The sense of place is truly stunning – the sights and sounds of Summer, the nolstagic sense of remembrance comes across in every part plus the story itself is highly compelling and unpredictably heart wrenching on occasion.
The mystery elements are cleverly woven into the plot and the ending was pitch perfect for me – all in all this was a really really excellent read and whilst I have not read Hakan Nesser before this I will certainly be looking for more now. No doubt.
Happy Reading Folks!