Library for the War-Wounded

Monika Helfer


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Bloomsbury Publishing Plc
15 February 2024
ISBN: 9781526657336
208 pages

From the publisher

Translated by Gillian Davidson

From Monika Helfer's award-winning, internationally bestselling wartime trilogy, based on her own family. Translated into English for the first time.

'We called him Vati, Dad. Not Father, not Papa. That's what he wanted. He thought it sounded modern. He wanted to present himself to us, and through us, as a man in tune with the modern age. Though he seemed to come from nowhere.'

Josef was an illegitimate child, a charity case from Salzburg, schooled by a benefactor. He was drafted to fight in the Second World War while still at school and sent to Russia, returning with only one leg. He married his nurse, and brought his family to the high, idyllic slopes of the Austrian Alps, where he took a position as manager of a home for injured soldiers, a strangely suspended, deeply isolated place with a remarkable library.

He was a man of many mysteries. To his daughter, Monika, none was greater than his obsession with these cloistered, crumbling books, his great treasure and secret amidst a country barrelling away from the memory of war.

Beautifully written, restrained, and memorable, Library for the War-Wounded turns a real life into great literature by confronting the universal question: Who are our parents, really?