Opening in the 1930s, this stunning novel tells the parallel stories of a father and son whose lives take the reader through critical moments of mid 20th-century European history, in miniature - from WWII and its aftermath to the Siberian Gulag. Alongside its Nabokovian precision and dark undercurrents, it has an unexpected black humour as well as a fantastic jazz sub-plot. self-indulgent Dutch businessman finds himself caught up in the liberation of Auschwitz, imprisoned as a spy by the liberating Russian army, shipped off to Minsk and Moscow to play in a bizarre jazz band, and then, when jazz beomes 'decadent' once more, to the Gulag, where his estranged son, a long-distance runner, finally catches up with him... Meanwhile, the boy (called Dolboy, because he looks like a tiny blond doll) is brought up by his doting childless aunt in the flat farmlands of east Holland, post-war. Wherever he goes, he runs, past dark forests, foxgloves, fields and birch trees. One day his running takes him to an old moated castle, where the summer house is full of moths and he meets the curious young girl who breeds and keeps the creatures. He becomes a world-class runner, she a photographer.
Karl Manders worked for forty years as a journalist. He was a member of the Guardian Features Department for five years, and subsequently contributed to the paper for some years. For three years he was News Editor of Nature, and for a similar period Deputy Features Editor of The Telegraph Magazine. He has worked intermittently for The Sunday Times and contributed freelance features to New Scientist, Scientific American, Radio Times, and Reader's Digest. He moved to North America where he edited photographic arts titles, before returning to Europe, and particularly the Netherlands where he learned Dutch. He is married and lives in Suffolk.