Eagles and Angels

Eagles and Angels

by Juli Zeh
     
 
Jessie is dead. She shot herself while on the phone with Max. And now grief-stricken Max, a UN lawyer, is forced to reevaluate everything about their relationship — including what Jessie, a drug dealer's daughter, was hiding. Embroiled with the drama of the Balkan drug trade and the shortcomings of international law, Eagles and Angels is a sophisticated riddle of a

Overview

Jessie is dead. She shot herself while on the phone with Max. And now grief-stricken Max, a UN lawyer, is forced to reevaluate everything about their relationship — including what Jessie, a drug dealer's daughter, was hiding. Embroiled with the drama of the Balkan drug trade and the shortcomings of international law, Eagles and Angels is a sophisticated riddle of a novel where mass murderers and civil war heroes exist in a bizarre symbiosis, and where nothing is as it appears. Wunderkind author Julie Zeh is the winner of the German Book Award and the Bremen Forder and the Rauriser Literature Prizes.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
A haze of drug addiction and anomie hangs over this bleak tale of obsessive love and underworld dealings, the first novel by a young German writer. When Max, a successful Viennese attorney in his early 30s, is left desperate and forlorn following the suicide of his girlfriend, Jessie, he calls Clara, a 23-year-old radio host. Far from lending a sympathetic ear-when Max recalls that Jessie shot herself while on the phone with him, Clara says, "[S]urely there must have been blood and brains all over it"-she wants his story for her psychology dissertation. In exchange for being put up at her apartment, Max finally agrees to talk into a DAT recorder between lines of coke. As he tells it, he first met Jessie at boarding school, where she was dating his roommate, Shershah, and dealing coke for her sinister father, Herbert, and brother, Ross. Tiny and unstable, Jessie reenters Max's life 12 years later and sucks him into her downward spiral. As Max continues spinning his tale on tape, he begins to uncover larger conspiracies and connections that threaten not only him but also his odd partnership with Clara and his memories of Jessie. Folding the story of Max's tortured love for both women into a larger chronicle of European drug smuggling and related war crimes, Zeh weaves a nightmarishly effective tale of personal and societal collapse. (Nov.) Forecast: Zeh has been compared to Michel Houllebecq, and readers looking for another grim vision of contemporary Europe-with an action-adventure twist (think Run Lola Run)-will find much to appreciate here. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
This is a graphic, gritty novel about the world of international drug traffickers and the people whose lives it ruins. The story takes place in Vienna and opens when Clara, a local radio talk-show host, visits Max's apartment to hear his whole story. Max has phoned her talk show a few times, relating his bizarre and incredible life story as a coke head. He is obsessed with the suicide of his girlfriend, Jessie, daughter of an Austrian drug kingpin, who shot herself while on the phone with him. A complex tale slowly unfolds, as readers try to sort out what is real and what is not. A climax involving all of the characters is truly stunning. Winner of the German Book Award for Most Successful Debut Novel, this suspenseful work displays the author's gift for writing-especially her very effective similes. Nevertheless, the subject matter will limit this novel to selective readers in large public libraries and academic libraries where fiction dealing with the drug culture is studied.-Lisa Rohrbaugh, East Palestine Memorial P.L., OH Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
A Leipzig barrister recalls his painful relationship with a girlfriend who led him to drug-smuggling, international terrorism, and a fevered inability to live in the world she left behind. You think you're disillusioned? Listen to Max Cooper tell the sad tale of his old school friend Jessie's suicide. Years ago she introduced Max and his Dusklands roommate Shershah, the estranged son of an Iranian diplomat, to her own father and brother, leading figures in a major drug-smuggling ring who in turn introduced them to cocaine. Then, just a year ago, she was back in Max's life offering the fair-haired boy of an international legal firm in Vienna an even more potent drug: her own burning need for his life-giving support. There followed some marathon coke binges, countless rounds of exhausted recriminations, but precious few embraces, since Jessie really didn't like Max touching her. Now that she's shot herself in the middle of their last phone call, Max, in a frenzy of loneliness, spills the story obsessively to Clara, a phone-in radio show host who wants to mine his confessions for her university thesis in psychology. She's got her work cut out for her, since Max's memories come tumbling out in anything but narrative form. Flashbacks to his school days, which mingled Shershah's idealistic promise and Jessie's high spirits with her relatives' menace, are tangled with horrific anecdotes of the Bosnian civil war and deepening revelations of just how much Max's cocaine habit cost him and Jessie and a good many others. In the meantime, Max's bargain with Clara-"my story for her entire person"-traps him between two impossible objects of desire, one of them untouchable, the other someone he wants towash his hands after touching. In forgoing the conventional pleasures of rationality and romance, Zeh's bleak debut only greases the skids of its hero's memorable descent into hell. Agent: Kathrin Scheel/Schoeffling & Co.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781862075665
Publisher:
Granta Books
Publication date:
11/05/2003
Pages:
329
Product dimensions:
5.32(w) x 8.46(h) x 1.04(d)

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >