“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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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.From Booklist:
This fine novel offers a mix of politics and romance and, not incidentally, the world of book publishing. Bruno Krug is an East German author in the final days of that government, well regarded for an early novel, The Orphans of Neustadt, but who has left readers disappointed by his still-unfulfilled promise. He has been given a manuscript to read by his editor, and it turns out to be a virtual sequel to Orphans, written by Krug’s nemesis in literature and politics and, as it happens, a rival for the love of young musician Theresa Aden. By the time that rival’s sudden death, initially thought to be of natural causes, becomes a matter of suspicion, what Krug has done with the manuscript and his relationship with Aden has turned Sington’s novel into a suspenseful international thriller involving the byzantine workings of the Workers’ and Peasants’ State. Sington deftly manages to capture both that regime (cleverly reflected in the details of a toothpaste shortage) and the fickle intricacies of publishing, demonstrating his familiarity with each. A well-crafted novel that should attract readers of both literary and high-end genre fiction. --Mark Levine
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