The Valley of Unknowing [NOOK Book]

Overview

“Remarkable…Superbly anchored in place and time…[A] brilliant, evocative and accurate novel.”—The Times (London)


In the twilight years of Communist East Germany, Bruno Krug, author of a single world-famous novel written twenty years earlier, falls for Theresa Aden, a music student from the West. But Theresa has also caught the eye of a cocky young scriptwriter who delights in satirizing Krug’s work.

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The Valley of Unknowing

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Overview

“Remarkable…Superbly anchored in place and time…[A] brilliant, evocative and accurate novel.”—The Times (London)


In the twilight years of Communist East Germany, Bruno Krug, author of a single world-famous novel written twenty years earlier, falls for Theresa Aden, a music student from the West. But Theresa has also caught the eye of a cocky young scriptwriter who delights in satirizing Krug’s work.

Asked to appraise a mysterious manuscript, Bruno is disturbed to find that the author is none other than his rival. Disconcertingly, the book is good—very good. But there is hope for the older man: the unwelcome masterpiece is dangerously political. Krug decides that if his affair with Theresa is to prove more than a fling, he must employ a small deception. But in the Workers’ and Peasants’ State, knowing the deceiver from the deceived, the betrayer from the betrayed, isn’t just difficult: it is a matter of life and death. Now the celebrated author and secret Stasi informer is ready to confess…


The Valley of Unknowing is both a moving and entertaining love story and a seductive thriller, one that pits the past against the future, commerce against creativity, and art against life.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Sington’s newest (after The Einstein Girl), set in late-1980s East Germany, is a complex tale of artistic aspirations, romantic jealousies, and theft. Bruno Krug, a middle-aged plumber, is also the author of the acclaimed The Orphans of Neustadt, published 20 years earlier. When his editor asks him to review the manuscript of screenwriter Wolfgang Richter’s first novel, The Valley of Unknowing, Bruno is astonished to discover that Valley reads like the sequel to Orphans he was never able to write. Meanwhile, Bruno falls in love with Theresa Aden, an Austrian violin player who is also in a relationship with Wolfgang. After the screenwriter dies under suspicious circumstances, Bruno claims full credit for Valley and dupes Theresa into smuggling it out of the country. She pseudonymously publishes it as Survivors, and the book garners international praise. As her star rises in the West, an insecure Bruno attempts to defect to marry her, but his bold literary theft and the vexing complications of the subterfuge prove too heavy a burden. Fans of Philip Kerr will appreciate the historical accuracy and intrigue of this Cold War–era literary thriller. (Dec.)
The Oldie
“Philip Sington has managed something quite remarkable…a flawless, gripping and penetrating depiction of life in the former East Germany, wrapped up as a literary thriller…His feeling for not just time and place, but atmosphere and way of life is perfect in a way that no other Western writer, not even John le Carré, has achieved.”— Peter Millar
Peter Millar - The Oldie
“Philip Sington has managed something quite remarkable…a flawless, gripping and penetrating depiction of life in the former East Germany, wrapped up as a literary thriller…His feeling for not just time and place, but atmosphere and way of life is perfect in a way that no other Western writer, not even John le Carré, has achieved.”
Financial Times
The Valley of Unknowing is simply superb: affecting but never melodramatic, literary but never less than thrilling. Though Krug is self-pitying, he wins our sympathy…His story, like the manuscript he grudgingly admire, is 'truthfully, tenderly drawn.'”— David Evans
Joseph Kanon
“A remarkable novel, the first in English to give us a nuanced portrait of life in Communist East Germany, its absurdity, its menace, and its pervasive sense of betrayal.”
David Evans - Financial Times
“The Valley of Unknowing is simply superb: affecting but never melodramatic, literary but never less than thrilling. Though Krug is self-pitying, he wins our sympathy…His story, like the manuscript he grudgingly admire, is 'truthfully, tenderly drawn.'”
Kirkus Reviews
Amadeus meets The Lives of Others in a compelling story of jealousy and betrayal behind the Iron Curtain. Political and personal limitations shape this subtle novel, by English writer Sington (Zoia's Gold, 2005, etc.), which balances serious and menacing questions of moral compromise with ironic comments on Actually Existing Socialism. Bruno Krug, author of The Orphans of Neustadt, has followed up that international best-seller with "twenty years of mediocrity," but when his publisher hands him an untitled manuscript to read, he encounters the brilliantly subversive sequel he never wrote. This work, by arrogant young Wolfgang Richter, arouses not only Krug's admiration, but also his envy, and he passes on his rival's name to his secret police "handlers." Soon, Richter is dead, apparently of meningitis. Krug, meanwhile, has fallen in love with Theresa, a young Austrian musician who knew Richter too. Theresa and Krug become lovers; then she finds the manuscript and assumes Krug wrote it. Unable to destroy the brilliant book, Krug allows Theresa to smuggle it into the West, where it is published under her name and is massively successful. Finally, a crisis of guilt forces Krug to make a thrillerlike attempt to set the record straight. Atmospheric, poignant, witty, but mournful too, Sington's novel cleverly considers what might have been the back story to real-life tragedies.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780393239447
  • Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 11/26/2012
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 304
  • Sales rank: 321,150
  • File size: 2 MB

Meet the Author

Philip Sington worked as a business journalist and magazine editor for nine years. His novels include Zoia’s Gold and The Einstein Girl. He lives in London.
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