A Perfect Waiter: A Novel

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Bloomsbury Publishing USA, Dec 11, 2008 - Fiction - 224 pages
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Erneste is the perfect waiter-and his private life seems to embody the qualities he brings to his profession. But inwardly this polite and dignified man is in the grip of a violent passion, aroused thirty years before, when he fell in love with a young waiter-in-training named Jakob. Jakob broke his heart when he fled Nazidominated Europe for a new life in America with his lover, Julius Klinger, a celebrated German intellectual. Nursing his wounds, Erneste slinks even deeper into his well-ordered world, hardening into what had only previously been a role. And then, after decades of silence, he receives a letter from a distraught and penniless Jakob asking for help. And Ernest must decide if he will finally take action. Set against the backdrop of a genteel Swiss hotel, and moving skillfully between two time periods, this exquisitely written story of a lifelong passion is rich in tension and emotion, exploring the nature of love and betrayal, memory, and regret.

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A perfect waiter

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What would you do if the lover you spurned 30 years ago and hadn't heard from since suddenly sent a letter demanding your help, even insisting that you plead his case before the very man who stole him ... Read full review


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About the author (2008)

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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