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Pavel & I
Dan Vyleta
publisher: Querido, Amsterdam, 2008



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Pavel & I is set in post-war Berlin in December/January 1946/47, one of the coldest winters on record. Pavel Richter is a decommissioned American GI who has lingered in the city and finds himself the recipient of a dead body that a friend begs him to hide from the authorities. Soon, he finds the corpse entangling him in an espionage affair that sets him on a collision course with a rogue Colonel of the British Armed Forces. This confrontation unfolds against the background of Pavelís friendship with Anders, a young street urchin living off the black market, and his budding love for Sonia, a German woman struggling to escape the cityís appalling conditions. The novel investigates the possibility of authentic relationships in a time and place where all social networks have crumbled and survival is the only order of the day. At the same time it interrogates - through the presence of Peterson, the voyeuristic narrator of the novelís events - what it means to narrate a past marked by the atrocities of war. While Peterson satisfies the readersí curiosity through his compulsion to ferret out every secret of the other charactersí lives, he also implicates them through the obvious relish he takes in describing the grotesque brutality of the age. Marked by literary borrowings, self-pity and hyperbole, Petersonís narrative voice is at once compelling and suspect. In the end he leaves the reader wondering whether Peterson ever truly understood the people and constellations that he has so boldly sketched for the past several hundred pages.

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BOOKS BY DAN VYLETA:

Pavel & I
2008
–› Excerpt

Peopled with pimps, prostitutes, spies, and a gang of child thieves, Pavel & I explores the power of storytelling to wrest meaning from the wreckage of civilization.
Crimes, Jews and News
2007 (as Daniel Mark Vyleta)
Volume 8 of the series 'Austrian and Habsburg Studies', which presents volumes on the development of society, culture, and government in Austria and other territories of the old Habsburg Monarchy.
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