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A devil comes to town
2019
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Brief Descriptions

A small village full of aspiring writers + The devil in the form of a hot-shot publisher = A refined and engaging literary fable on narcissism, vainglory and human weakness - (Perseus Publishing)

"A Devil Comes to Town is a brilliant form of torture...a huge amount of fun."—Lisa Grgas for The Literary Review

A small Swiss village full of aspiring writers + The devil in the form of a hot-shot publisher = An international bestseller by the author of the Italian literary sensation

The Luneburg Variation

Wild rabies runs rampant through the woods. The foxes are gaining ground, boldly making their way into the village. In Dichtersruhe, an insular yet charming haven stifled by the Swiss mountains, these omens go unnoticed by all but the new parish priest. The residents have other things on their mind: Literature. Everyone’s a writer—the nights are alive with reworked manuscripts. So when the devil turns up in a black car claiming to be a hot-shot publisher, unsatisfied authorial desires are unleashed and the village’s former harmony is shattered. Taut with foreboding and Gothic suspense, Paolo Maurensig gives us a refined and engaging literary parable on narcissism, vainglory, and our inextinguishable thirst for stories.

Paolo Maurensig is one of Italy’s bestselling authors. He debuted in 1993 with The Lüneburg Variation, translated into twenty-five languages, and selling over 2 million copies in Italy. His novels include Canone Inverso, The Guardian of Dreams, and The Archangel of Chess. For his novel Theory of Shadows, published by FSG in the US in January 2018, he won the Bagutta Prize. A Devil Comes to Town is his latest novel and received rave reviews in the European press.

- (Perseus Publishing)

Author Biography

PAOLO MAURENSIG was born in Gorizo, and lives in Udine, Italy. Now a bestselling author, he debuted in 1993 with The Lüneburg Variation, translated into twenty-five languages, and selling over 2 million copies in Italy. His novels include Canone Inverso, The Guardian of Dreams, and The Archangel of Chess. For his novel Theory of Shadows, published by FSG in the US in January 2018, he won the Bagutta Prize. A Devil Comes to Town is his latest novel. - (Perseus Publishing)

Flap Cover Text

Wild rabies runs rampant through the woods. The foxes are gaining ground, boldly making their way into the village. In Dichtersruhe, an insular yet charming haven stifled by the Swiss mountains, these omens go unnoticed by all but the new parish priest. The residents have other things on their mind: Literature. Everyone’s a writer—the nights are alive with reworked manuscripts. So when the devil turns up in a black car claiming to be a hot-shot publisher, unsatisfied authorial desires are unleashed and the village’s former harmony is shattered. Taut with foreboding and Gothic suspense, Paolo Maurensig gives us a refined and engaging literary parable on narcissism, vainglory, and our inextinguishable thirst for stories. - (Perseus Publishing)

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Reviews Via Publishers Weekly

Publishers Weekly Reviews

In Maurensig's crafty publishing fable, a Mephistophelean figure sows discord in a community of scribblers. A renowned novelist receives an unsigned manuscript about a certain Father Cornelius, the vicar of a small Swiss community, Dichtersruhe, which is in the midst of "an episode of collective madness." The insular town is remarkable because "there was no other place in the world with such a high number of would-be writers." The townspeople are content with their modest literary ambitions until a flashy Lucerne publisher arrives and offers a cash prize for the region's best manuscript. Dichtersruhe's citizens are overcome by vainglory and envy (as well as a rabies epidemic). These ominous signs convince Father Cornelius that the out-of-towner is the devil himself, exploiting this "pond teeming with disillusioned fish." Maurenig (Theory of Shadows) skillfully handles the tale's mysteries and ambiguities: has Father Cornelius really spotted the devil, or is he an unreliable narrator in thrall to his own infernal, Faust-inspired fictions? And is the widespread urge to write, to "indelibly engrave ourselves on the metaphysical plate of the universe," demonic or divine? This nested narrative is an entertaining exploration of the manifold powers—creative, confessional, corrupting—of fiction. (May)

Copyright 2019 Publishers Weekly.

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