On its publication in German, Against the World was hailed as an immediate classic. “One of the most spectacular debuts of recent decades,” said Kulturspiegel, while Der Spiegel went even farther: “Against the World is the book of books.” Now English-language readers will get their first chance to see what German readers have already learned: this is a big, ambitious, over-the-top masterpiece.
Set in the East Friesia region of Germany in the mid-1970s, Against the Worldtells the story of Daniel Kuper, the nominal heir to a drugstore dynasty, and his struggle to free himself from the petty suspicions and violence of small-town life. A delicate, secretive boy with too much imagination and too few opportunities, he becomes the target of outrage and fear when strange phenomena convulse the town: snowfall in summer, inexplicable corn circles, a boy dead under the wheels of a train, swastikas crudely daubed on walls. Fingers point, and they single out Kuper. The more he tries to prove his innocence, the more fierce the accusations, until his only option is open war against the village and its inhabitants.
An unforgettable debut, Against the World is an epic account of growing up an outsider, and the pain, violence, and betrayal that accompany exclusion.
‘A stunning, wonderfully presumptuous book.’ —Rolling Stone
‘Brandt’s admirable debut is great reading for any occasion: complex and hearty while remaining swiftly readable thanks to a great story and a pitch-perfect translation.’ —Spectrum Culture
‘This heftily ambitious novel doesn’t always work, but when it does, it is very good.’ —Sunday Times