Norbert Gstrein

A bomb is discovered in a provincial Austrian village station. Next to it is a note that says simply »Repent!«, but no one takes it seriously, not even the police. Then a teacher in the village thinks he recognizes his favourite pupil Daniel on a wanted poster. The teacher befriended Daniel when they spent a summer together at his house by the river, but Daniel has been growing increasingly obsessive of fate, losing himself in religious and political dogmatism after a trip to Israel. For his teacher, this marks the start of a spiral of introspection and self doubt, reinforced by his inability to feel at home anywhere after spending several years in Istanbul. What’s more, he is suddenly swamped by memories of the pivotal moments of his own adolescence, which floor him completely. Was it Daniel’s love for Judith and his fascination with an American fire-and-brimstone evangelist who is passing through on his way to Jerusalem or could it have been the complex relationship between the two of them that led the boy astray? Norbert Gstrein examines the crucial decisions we take as we start out in life and the omnipresent reference points of childhood. This is a moving and absorbing story, told by an unparalleled author at the height of his powers.

Foreign Sales

Egypt (Kotob Khan), France (Gallimard), UK/USA (Quercus)




Eine Geschichte über die Vergangenheit, die am Anfang endet? Für den Lehrer ist die Zeit schwierig geworden, hat sich doch die Gruppe seiner engvertrauten Schüler um einen Schüler reduziert. Man wirft ihm eine Beziehung zu den Jungen vor, aber was für eine denn? Er ist auch diesen Sommer wieder für die Jungs da, die über den Verlust immer noch nicht hinweg gekommen sind….

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