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The Joy of Sorcery

The Joy of Sorcery

Sten Nadolny

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Translated from the German by Breon and Lynda Mitchell / 263-page paperback / 5.5" x 8.5" / ISBN 9781589881464 / Publication Date: 6/30/2020

"An exuberant fantasy . . . a daring book."―Der Spiegel

"A headlong dive into love and magic, told with humor and heart."Foreword Reviews

As a young boy in Germany before the First World War, Pahroc discovers that he has special abilities. He can lengthen his arm at will, reaching out to pluck a cherry ten feet away; he can absorb all of the information in a book by placing two fingers on its spine; he can appear to others in the form of a crocodile: He is a sorcerer.

Pahroc finds his own community of sorcerers, including Emma, the woman he marries, and as the years pass, he becomes one of the great masters of his secret calling. He works as a radio technician, then an inventor, then a psychotherapist, and the outside world never knows that he can fly through the air unassisted or walk through walls. Being able to temporarily turn to steel or conjure money from nothing prove crucial to surviving and ushering his growing family through the Second World War.

Now, at 106, Pahroc’s greatest concern is passing on his art to his infant granddaughter Mathilda, the only one of his many descendants to have revealed talents like his own. In the twelve letters which form this book, he writes down his life for her. It is the witty, endearing, and surprising story of a man with his own special way of resisting the disenchantment of the world.

"In Sten Nadolny’s masterful The Joy of Sorcery, magic, love, and family illuminate a tragic time in world history . . . Quirky, well-drawn characters inhabit a believable world that’s rich with possibilities . . . This book should be savored. Each letter to Mathilda is a tasty buffet of wise, whimsical insights into the richness of human experiences. Pahroc’s legacy of love for his family inspires zest for living, too. The Joy of Sorcery is a headlong dive into love and magic, told with humor and heart, that leaves one wishing for just one more letter from the sly old sorcerer Pahroc."―Foreword Reviews

"A stirring call for the next generation to learn the lessons of the past. Ultimately, what Pahroc chooses to pass on to his granddaughter and the reader is a reminder that life has a magic all its own . . . For us mortals, it’s a reassuring call to find our own wonder in the world.​"​―Washington Independent Review of Books

"A wise, magical read."—Kronenzeitung

A "smart, almost philosophical novel . . . enchanting."—Münchner Merkur

"An enchanting book in the truest sense."—Süddeutsche Zeitung

"An audacious book . . . a plea for the imagination in a perilously unimaginative time."--Stephan Lohr, Der Spiegel

Praise for Sten Nadolny and The Discovery of Slowness:

"Absolutely stunning."―Times Literary Supplement

"Vivid and constantly surprising…excels at conveying the feel of discovery."―Washington Post Book World

"This remarkable, superbly translated novel derives from the life of the real 19th century explorer John Franklin…[whose] adventures are conveyed with spellbinding skill."―Publishers Weekly

"The Discovery of Slowness is a masterpiece of characterization, a portrait of inwardness in the most outward-thrusting of lives."―The New Republic

"Fluid and suspenseful, a thought-provoking reminder of contemporary society's tendency to speed through everyday life."―The Providence Journal-Bulletin

"Nadolny's vision is conveyed with restraint and charm…He has written a Utopia of character."―New York Times Book Review

"Nadolny is a practiced and sophisticated fiction writer. "―Booklist

"Sten Nadolny tells unforgettable stories."―Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

Also available as an ebook:

Sten Nadolny
 was born in Brandenburg, Germany in 1942. He is the author of eight novels including The Discovery of Slowness, his best-known book, and The God of Impertinence. The Discovery of Slowness has been translated into more than twenty languages and become a modern classic of German literature. Nadolny has won several literary awards including the Ingeborg Bachmann Prize. He lives in Berlin.

Breon and Lynda Mitchell have been collaborating on award-winning translations of German novels and short stories for over three decades, including major works by Franz Kafka, Heinrich Böll, Günter Grass, Uwe Timm, Sten Nadolny, and Marcel Beyer. Their most recent translation was the English libretto for Gottfried von Einem's opera Der Prozess, performed in concert at the 2018 Salzburg Summer Festival. ​

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