cover image The Sweetness of Life

The Sweetness of Life

Paulus Hochgatterer, trans. from the German by Jamie Bulloch. Quercus/MacLehose, $26.99 (240p) ISBN 978-1-62365-853-3

Austrian author Hochgatterer makes his U.S. debut with this remarkable thriller. Monsters appear to lurk in the forest-ringed fairy tale Austrian town of Furth am See, including whoever left the faceless corpse of Sebastian Wilfert in the snow for his little granddaughter, Katharina, to discover. Investigating the inexplicable Christmas-time crime officially falls to Det. Ludwig Kovacs and his vacation-depleted team, but potentially crucial evidence could come from quite a different quarter: child psychiatrist Raffael Horn, who is treating the traumatized (and now mute) Katharina. Skillfully mixing the observations of these two middle-aged kindred spirits—experienced enough to have lost their illusions, but not their humanity—with those of some of the more damaged townsfolk, Hochgatterer, himself a Vienna child psychiatrist, tells a suspenseful and shattering story with an elegance of expression that matches his exceptional insight into hearts and minds. [em]Agency: Paul Zsolnay Verlag/Deuticke (Austria). (Dec.) [/em]