cover image The Fabric of Night

The Fabric of Night

Christoph Peters, , trans. from the German by John Cullen. . Doubleday/Talese, $23.95 (305pp) ISBN 978-0-385-51447-7

At the start of Peters's challenging second novel, his first to be published in English, 28-year-old sculptor Albin Kranz is relaxing on the terrace of his Istanbul hotel when he witnesses the murder of an American "who looked like Marlon Brando in old age" at an adjacent hotel. But neither his wife, Livia, nor the group of German art students the couple meet in Turkey, nor the clerk at the victim's hotel believes him, because Kranz is alcoholic, his brain in a feverish, nightmarish state. His first-person narrative is a stream of memories, fears and delusions ("I've become part of an alien organism"). Kranz's musings are interspersed with the almost equally opaque commentary of one of the art students. This ambitious book contains some striking bits of Turkish cultural travelogue and the kind of intensity one might expect from young artist intellectuals, but the oblique storytelling makes it a tough read. (Jan.)