Two Gentlemen on the Beach

Michael Köhlmeier / Translated by Ruth Martin

‘A masterful novel.’ 
Die Welt


On the face of it, Winston Churchill and Charlie Chaplin – two icons of the twentieth century – couldn’t be more different. One the statesman whose resolve led a nation in the struggle against Nazi Germany, the other world-famous comedian behind The Great Dictator. But they are bound by a dark secret: both suffer from depression.

When a chance encounter reveals the illness they share, an unusual and unlikely friendship ensures. A series of therapeutic meetings across the world, in Germany, England and America, sees each become the other’s confidant as they talk of their ‘black dog days’.

With the eye of a masterfully subtle narrator. Michael Köhlmeier imagines a startling friendship of unique understanding between this extraordinary pair; a friendship of the twentieth century between art and politics, humour and seriousness, but which at heart remains an understanding between two men – the poor tramp and the grand statesman – who bring together the history of the century.

MICHAEL KÖHLMEIER is an Austrian writer and musician. His works of fiction have met with critical acclaim and his many awards include the Manès Serber Prize for Literature (1994) and Grimmelshausen Prize (1997). He is the author of Yiza and The Statesman and the Tramp.

RUTH MARTIN is a freelance literary and academic translator, with a particular interest in history, philosophy and psychology.

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