Pavel & I, By Dan Vyleta

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The Independent Culture

It is 1946 in freezing post-war Berlin, when a man who speaks "like a second-rate stooge from a Chandler novel" turns up at the flat of Jean Pavel Richter with a dead Russian midget in a suitcase.

Crippled with kidney disease and holed up with a street urchin for a nurse, Pavel becomes tangled up with a beautiful woman, an obese British colonel and an obsessed interrogator, the narrator of the novel.

Part thriller, part love story and partly a story about the brutal aftermath of war, this is a novel as chilling as a German winter, brilliantly liberated from genre by Vyleta's quick prose.

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