A Perfect Waiter by Alain Claude Sulzer
A Novel

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Synopsis

Erneste is the perfect waiter-and his private life seems to embody the qualities he brings to his profession. But inwardly this polite and dignified man is in the grip of a violent passion, aroused thirty years before, when he fell in love with a young waiter-in-training named Jakob. Jakob broke his heart when he fled Nazidominated Europe for a new life in America with his lover, Julius Klinger, a celebrated German intellectual. Nursing his wounds, Erneste slinks even deeper into his well-ordered world, hardening into what had only previously been a role. And then, after decades of silence, he receives a letter from a distraught and penniless Jakob asking for help. And Ernest must decide if he will finally take action. Set against the backdrop of a genteel Swiss hotel, and moving skillfully between two time periods, this exquisitely written story of a lifelong passion is rich in tension and emotion, exploring the nature of love and betrayal, memory, and regret.
 

About Alain Claude Sulzer

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Alain Claude Sulzer was born in Basel in 1953. His first novel was published in 1983 and he has since written four further novels, including Annas Maske (2001), and numerous short stories. A Perfect Waiter is his first novel to be published in English. He lives in Alsace. John Brownjohn is one of Britain’s leading translators from the German and has won critical acclaim on both sides of the Atlantic including for My Wounded Heart: The Life of LIlli Jahn 1900-44 by Martin Doerry (Bloomsbury, 2004). Among his most recent awards are the Schlegel-Tieck Prize for Thomas Brussig’s Heroes Like Us and the Helen and Kurt Wolff Prize for Marcel Beyer’s The Karnau Tapes.
 
Published December 11, 2008 by Bloomsbury USA. 228 pages
Genres: Romance, Gay & Lesbian, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for A Perfect Waiter

Kirkus Reviews

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This short, evocative novel combines a romantic melodrama of homosexual love and betrayal with deeper meditations on the passage of time, the essence of truth, the deception of desire and the inevitability of death.

May 20 2010 | Read Full Review of A Perfect Waiter: A Novel

The Guardian

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A Perfect Waiter by Alain Claude Sulzer Buy it from the Guardian bookshop Search the Guardian bookshop Erneste, the consummate waiter of the title, has become inure...

Feb 08 2009 | Read Full Review of A Perfect Waiter: A Novel

The Guardian

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A Perfect Waiter by Alain Claude Sulzer, translated by John Brownjohn 224pp, Bloomsbury, £12.99 The story opens with a classic hook: on September 15, 1966, a perfectly ordinary little man called Erneste receives a letter from someone he hasn't seen for 30 years.

Jan 26 2008 | Read Full Review of A Perfect Waiter: A Novel

The Guardian

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A Perfect Waiter by Alain Claude Sulzer Find this on the Guardian bookshop Search the Guardian bookshop It is 1935 and Erneste is "the perfect waiter" at a Swiss ho...

Feb 14 2009 | Read Full Review of A Perfect Waiter: A Novel

Publishers Weekly

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In Alsace-based Sulzer’s first translated novel, set in 1966 Switzerland, self-possessed, middle-aged Erneste is the rock of the Restaurant am Berg, working the lavish Blue Room without missing a shift in 16 years.

Jan 07 2008 | Read Full Review of A Perfect Waiter: A Novel

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