Author: Emeric Pressburger
Published August 2022
Staff Pick! So says…
Karl Braun lodges in a shared house in Pimlico and works as a piano tuner. He always logs his telephone calls, and is always on time for his clients. He remembers the death of his wife during the Second World War. He buys discount tickets for classical concerts, and steps out with the young woman who found him his rented room, and is attracted to his melancholy secretiveness. His neighbour assumes that Karl is a Jewish emigré, like him. His English colleagues and customers, incurious, never imagine that he is a Nazi surgeon hiding from a war crimes trial, every word out of his mouth a lie.
Emeric Pressburger's second novel is a psychological tour-de-force about complicity, a ferociously ironic novel that satirises the genteel style of English literary fiction to tear into the notion of a European civilisation. As atmospheric and haunting as you'd expect from one of the greatest ever screenwriters, especially in its observation of shabby, narrow-minded, pretentious pre-Swinging Sixties' London, it's a brutal and brilliant page-turner about everyday fascism and the refusal to see that makes it possible.