Translated by Tess Lewis
184 pp, 5 x 8 inches June 2014
ISBN : 9780857422040
Rs 495.00 (HB)
When Kurt Weber inherits his great-uncle’s lakeside house, he finds traces of the dark secrets of his family’s past. The early inhabitants of the house haunt his dreams nightly. And one day a ghostlike woman appears before him, hiding herself in a room that had been kept locked throughout his childhood. Inside, Kurt finds a hidden stash of photographs, letters, and documents. As he deciphers them, he gradually understands the degree of complicity in wartime horrors by his family and among his neighbours.
As the story unfolds, it becomes clear that the entire village adheres to an old and widely understood agreement not to expose the many members in the community who had been involved with a nearby prison camp during World War II. This knowledge wraps the entire community—those involved, and those who know of the involvement—in inescapable guilt for generations. Translated from the original German by Tess Lewis, Ludwig’s Room is a story of love, betrayal, honor, and cowardice, as well as the burden of history and the moral demands of the present.
Alois Hotschnig was born in 1959 in Carinthia and lives in Innsbruck. His books, celebrated for their stylistic virtuosity and precision of observation, have won major Austrian and international prizes including the Federal Chancellery of Austriaï¿½s Literature Prize, the Italo Svevo Prize, the Erich Fried Prize, the Anton Wildgans Prize, the inaugural 2011 Gert Jonke Prize, and the ORF Radio Play of the Year Award, among others. These awards reflect Hotschnig's mastery in examining universal concerns through the prism of an acute focus on the local.
Tess Lewis has translated seven books and numerous essays and articles from French and German. Her translations include works by Peter Handke, Alois Hotschnig, Julya Rabinowich, Lukas Bï¿½rfuss, Philippe Jaccottet, Pascal Bruckner and Jean-Luc Benoziglio among others. She has been awarded a PEN Translation Fund grant and an NEA Translation Fellowship. She also serves as an Advisory Editor for The Hudson Review and writes essays on European Literature for various literary journals and newspapers.