The Last Country
Translated by Nika Knight
6 x 9 inches, 208pp. 2017
ISBN : 9780857424310
Rs 525.00 (HB)
Ruven Preuk stands apart from the village, on an August day in 1911, and listens.
Thus begins an epic Bildungsroman about the life of Ruven Preuk, son of the wainwright, child of a sleepy village in Germany's north, where life is both simple and harsh. Ruben, however, is neither. His ability to see sounds leads him to discover an uncanny gift for the violin. And when he meets a talented teacher in the city's Jewish quarter, Ruven falls under the spell of a promised future. As the twentieth century looms, Ruven's pursuit of his craft takes readers from the mansions of a disappearing aristocracy to a communist rebellion, from a joyous village wedding to a Nazi official's threats, from the First World War to the Second. As the world he knew disappears, the gifted musician must grapple with the question: To what end has he devoted himself to his art?
Svenja Leiber's collection of short stories Büchsenlicht (Hunting Hours) was published in 2005 and her novel Schipino in 2010. Her work has been recognized with numerous honours and awards, including the 2015 Arno Reinfrank Literaturpreis for The Last Country.
Nika Knight has an MFA in literary translation and nonfiction writing from Columbia University, New York. She lives and works as a translator and writers in southern Maine.