Felix Hoffman’s hunger is both physical and emotional.
A Dutch diplomat with a checkered career
behind him, he is now Ambassador in Prague in the
late 1980s; his final posting. In Kafka’s haunted city,
Hoffman desperately feeds his bulimia and spends
his insomniac nights studying Spinoza and revisiting
the traumas of his past.
A child survivor of the Holocaust, Hoffman married
and had beloved twin daughters, but a double
tragedy has befallen his family; one daughter died
as a young girl of leukemia, the other, who became
a heroin addict, has committed suicide. This has
wrecked Hoffman’s marriage and his life; he has
not had one decent night’s sleep since the death of
his daughter over twenty years ago, and his constant
physical hunger reflects his emotional hunger
for truth and understanding. When Carla, a Czech
double agent, gets into Hoffman’s bed, political and
emotional mayhem ensues.
Hoffman’s past and his present predicament are
inextricably bound up with the tormented history of
Europe over the fifty years since the Second World
War. Like Europe, he is at a crossroads, and the signs
point to an uncertain future. With this spellbinding
philosophical thriller, a bestseller in Germany, Leon
de Winter charts a search for identity which is both
personal and political.
Translated from the Dutch by Arnold and Erica
About the Author
LEON DE WINTER is a prize
winning Dutch novelist, born in
1954. He is also an internationally
recognized film writer and
director. This is his first book to
be translated into English.
"De Winter has always been a virtuoso when it comes to constructing a tense plot." --
"It remains a fact; Leon de Winter is an American amongst the European writers, which means he is one of the most ironic and entertaining authors." --
Neue Zürcher Zeitung
"With Hoffman's Hunger Leon de Winter reaches a high, international level with a literary style in the tradition of Kundera" --
The Critics Praise:
"At the heart of this 'philosophical thriller' is the conflict between the instinct to live and the painful, self-destructive guilt of being a survivor."
-- Financial Times
"De Winter excels in his treatment of the central character: the psychological subtlety of Hoffman's suffering, the descriptions of his bingeing and subsequent evacuations, and the parallels between the stagnation of the communist order and Hoffman's digestive stasis."
-- Financial Times
"Emotional but not too sentimental, funny, and even pretty exciting Hoffman's Hunger is a very good read. Certainly recommended."
-- The Complete Review
"This brilliant psychological thriller has been a smash hit in Europe."
-- The Times, November 2007