A Perfect Waiter

A Perfect Waiter

3.62 (391 ratings by Goodreads)
By (author)  , Translated by 

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Erneste works in the restaurant of a grand hotel in Giessbach in Switzerland. He is the 'perfect waiter', a model of order in every way, and his private life seems to embody the qualities he brings to his job. But inwardly this polite and dignified man is in the grip of a violent passion, a passion aroused many years before in the late 1930s when he fell in love with a young waiter, Jakob. For Jakob the affair was just a fling, a fleeting step on the way to better things. One day, when Erneste finds Jakob in flagrante with a great German writer, Julius Klinger, it was all over. Jakob fled Nazi-dominated Europe for a new life in America with Klinger, and Erneste's heart was broken. He spends the next thirty years becoming what had previously only been a role - the 'perfect waiter'. The novel opens decades later, when Erneste receives a letter from America from Jakob who asking him to make an appeal to Klinger for money. Klinger, who had returned to Europe after the war, refuses to help, and in a short time Erneste receives dramatic news of Jakob which threatens his memories of the great love of his youth.
Moving skillfully between two time periods, this elegantly written, cinematic novel is rich in tension and poignancy.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 224 pages
  • 129 x 198mm
  • London, United Kingdom
  • German
  • 0747590230
  • 9780747590231
  • 1,330,303

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Review quote

'Alain Claude Sulzer writes with utterly classical, old-fashioned aplomb' Die Zeit 'Fascinating. It's as if an opulent Magic Mountain, a memory in fading colours of a mundane love story, has been photographed anew' Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung 'Sulzer's novel, or rather novella, has great stylistic elegance, and offers many enjoyments and pleasures beyond its subtle abundance of literary allusion. His skill lies more in small observations than dramatic sweep' Suddeutsche Zeitung 'A compelling love story ... This is elegant writing, perfectly pitched to reflect the sadness and regret attendant on such a liaison' Rodney Troughbridge, Bookseller
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About Alain Claude Sulzer

Alain Claude Sulzer was born in Basel in 1953. His first novel was published in 1983 and he has since written four further novels, including Annas Maske (2001) and numerous short stories. A Perfect Waiter is his first novel to be published in English. He lives in Alsace. John Brownjohn is one of Britain's leading translators from the German and has won critical acclaim on both sides of the Atlantic including for 'My Wounded Heart': The Life of LIlli Jahn 1900-44 by Martin Doerry (Bloomsbury, 2004). Among his most recent awards are the Schlegel-Tieck Prize for Thomas Brussig's Heroes Like Us and the Helen and Kurt Wolff Prize for Marcel Beyer's The Karnau Tapes.
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Rating details

391 ratings
3.62 out of 5 stars
5 23% (89)
4 34% (133)
3 29% (113)
2 12% (47)
1 2% (9)
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