By (author) Hedi Kaddour, Translated by David Coward


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  • Publisher: VINTAGE
  • Format: Paperback | 672 pages
  • Dimensions: 130mm x 194mm x 42mm | 440g
  • Publication date: 11 May 2009
  • Publication City/Country: London
  • ISBN 10: 0099502534
  • ISBN 13: 9780099502531
  • Edition statement: Reprint
  • Sales rank: 913,594

Product description

A riveting spy novel and major work of literature, Waltenberg is the compelling tale of Michael Lilstein, an East German spymaster and Auschwitz survivor who recruits a mysterious young Frenchman to act as a mole, much to the interest of the CIA. Intertwined with this history is the relationship between a German novelist and an American singer, and the friendship between the novelist and a French journalist- but at its heart Waltenberg is an espionage novel and betrayal lies at its core.

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Author information

Born in 1945, Hedi Kaddour has a Doctorate in Modern Literature. He has been teaching French literature at the Ecole Normale Superieure since 1984. He is the author of three collections of poetry and of several translations (from German, English and Arabic). Waltenberg is his first novel.

Review quote

"Kaddour's idiosyncratic prose, which plays fast and loose with grammatical convention, is as creative as a black market passport. The result is a long read (at 640 pages) but one that still manages to grip like an ill-gotten dossier" Spectator "A great novel... Excellent, complex" Guardian "A bumper espionage thriller between World War I and the Berlin Wall's collapse featuring a German author, an American singer and a French journalist" The List "Part spy-thriller, part novel of ideas, Hedi Kaddour's huge, ambitious novel takes on the history of the 20th century, from the First World War to 1991... it is an extraordinary novel. Imagine Smiley's People rewritten by Thomas Mann, and then updated by WG Sebald (a "Colonel Sebald" pops up a couple of times). There are pages, sometimes even chapters, which are as good as anything written in years" Jewish Chronicle "At last here is the great French novel we have been waiting twenty years for " Marie Claire