A Price to Pay

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 


A Price to Pay is the story of three ordinary lives in extraordinary times; lives that hinge and turn on a single moment; lives of a turbulent 20th century.

A pacifist as a young man, Felix Bloch turns to physics and finds himself in exile, working on Robert Oppenheimer’s atomic bomb. The headstrong and beautiful Laura d’Oriano wants nothing more than to be a singer but falls into the murky world of war-time espionage. The young Émile Gilliéron is a precocious draughtsman who becomes a masterful forager.

Three untypical heroes who cross paths only one, at Zurich station on a winter’s day in 1924, never to meet again. As their lives diverge each secures a place in the annals of history – but at what price?

ALEX CAPUS is the author of A Matter of TimeLeon & LouiseAlmost Like SpringLife is GoodSkidoo, and Sailing by Starlight.

JOHN BROWNJOHN is an experienced and versatile literary translator with almost 200 books to his credit. 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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