Germans flee the besieged city of Danzig in 1945. Poles driven out of eastern regions taken over by the Soviets move into homes hastily abandoned by their previous inhabitants. In an area of what is now called Gdansk, graced with beech trees and a stately cathedral, the stories of old and new residents intertwine: Hanemann, a German and a former professor of anatomy, who chooses to stay in Danzig after the painful loss of his lover in a freak accident; the Polish boy downstairs whose family was driven out of Warsaw before its razing and who narrates the story; and the family’s young maid from what is now Ukraine, her cheerful nature concealing deep wounds of her own.
Stefan Chwin, who lives in Gdansk, is one of the most acclaimed writers in Europe today. This is his first novel to be translated into English.
“Sometimes harshly realistic and sometimes lyrical, this is a haunting and memorable evocation of a turbulent time and place.” - Library Journal
“Chwin skillfully describes a city in as much chaos as its inhabitants, striving anew to forge a new sense of identity.” - Michael Spinella, BooklistPURCHASE