A Price to Pay

by Alex Capus / translated by John Brownjohn

‘Capus’ characters were real people who, in their own unique ways, helped shape the previous century. He does them justice in his captivating novel by fleshing them out and allowing them to breathe and pulse on the page’ —Minneapolis Star Tribune 

Alex Capus’s novels have been runaway best-sellers in Germany, and his novel Leon and Louise, received widespread critical acclaim on its English publication in 2012. A Price to Pay, the fourth of Capus’s novels to be published in English, tells the interwoven stories of three disparate figures from interwar Switzerland: pacifist Felix Bloch, who ends up working on the Manhattan Project; Laura d’Oriano, who wants to become a singer but instead becomes an Allied spy in fascist Italy; and Emile Gillieron, who accompanies Heinrich Schliemann to Troy and becomes one of art’s greatest forgers. Taking off from the only moment in history when all three were in the same place – a November day in 1924 at Zurich Station – Capus traces their diverging paths as they secure their places in the annals of history – but at what price?

ALEX CAPUS is a French-Swiss novelist who writes in German. He is one of German’s bestselling novelists. Capus lives in Oltern, in northern Switzerland, with his wife and five sons. Aside from his own writing, Capus has also translated in German three novels by John Fante and the American cult novel A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole. 

Also by this author, Leon & LouiseSailing by StarlightSkidoo, Life is Good

JOHN BROWNJOHN is an experienced and versatile literary translator with almost 200 books to his credit. These range from popular bestsellers like The Night of the Generals and The Boat (Das Boot) to the political memoirs of Willy Brandt and scholarly studies such as Martin-Gregor-Dellin’s definitive biography of Richard Wagner. His work has won him critical acclaim and numerous awards on both sides of the Atlantic, including the Schlegel-Tieck Prize (three times), the US PEN, and the Helen and Kurt Wolff Prize for Marcel Beyer’s The Karnau Tapes and Thomas Brussig’s Heroes Like Us.

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