12-12 June 2008


Tickets: 8

Do human beings create and shape their own destinies and identities? Or do events in extremis define our outcomes? Set against an epoch-defining moment, two gripping new novels probe the ambiguities of human action.

Boris Opp is a young Berliner, born into the chaos of the Second World War. But when his father returns from the Eastern front and remarks upon the absence of a birthmark, the child is suddenly thrown into identity crisis. Part literary investigation, part historical novel, Disguise is the latest triumph from Hugo Hamilton, award-winning author of international bestseller The Speckled People.

Like Hamilton, Booker-shortlisted novelist Justin Cartwright (Leading the Cheers, The Promise of Happiness) is drawn to the turbulence of war-torn Berlin for his latest novel. On 20 July 1944 Hitler narrowly escapes an assassin’s bomb. The conspirators are hunted down and hanged from meat hooks, and the execution filmed. Sixty years later Conrad Senior is left a legacy of papers that fuel his obsession. ‘The most gripping book I’ve read in ages… Fascinating, disturbing…’

Roddy Doyle on Hugo Hamilton’s The Speckled People.

‘A hugely adroit and imaginative modern novel by one of our great contemporary talents.’ Independent on Sunday on Justin Cartwright’s The Song Before it is Sung

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