Observer’s New Faces of Fiction 2015
Winner of the Betty Trask Prize 2016
Meet Günter Glass: ex-milkman and aspiring window-cleaner, struggling to find his way in the modern world.
Ever since a childhood visit to a glass-blower’s workshop, Günter has had an unusual fixation with glass. When a minor adventure up the spire of Salisbury cathedral turns him into a local celebrity – and gives him a taste for extreme heights – Günter is called to his dream job: cleaning Europe’s tallest skyscraper, London’s Shard.
Enchantingly under-prepared for the bright lights of the city – and philosophically under-equipped for sharing a flat with an eccentric German intellectual called the Steppenwolf – Günter must navigate his own way through life, armed only with his mother’s homespun wisdom and knowledge gleaned from haphazard wanderings through Wikipedia.
But will his innocence put him on a collision course with the baffling modern world?
Glass is a novel about learning to wise up to the world around you. Charming, funny and slyly clever, it establishes Alex Christofi as one of Britain’s most exciting new writers. [I didn’t write this, in case that’s not obvious.]
Published by Serpent’s Tail.
If you want to buy and read the book, I’ll be very happy. Some of you will go straight to Amazon or download it to your Kindle. Others will want to get their loyalty points from Waterstones or Foyles. If you want to support your local independent you can use the Guardian’s independent book shop directory, or the London Bookshop Map. If you would like to borrow a copy, you can find a library near you (if it hasn’t already been closed by your local council).
The book is also published as an audiobook (W F Howes), in French (Fleuve) as Transparence, and in German (Droemer Knaur) as Mr Glas.
longlisted for the Desmond Elliott Prize
Christofi’s debut novel is both charming and funny, and not a little affecting
This first novel makes me want to use words like “sparkling”, “sharp”, “translucent”…. Christofi’s writing really does gleam with wit, inventiveness and an offbeat charm
Kate Saunders, The Times
[An] impressive, tightly paced coming-of-age story … Günter is part James Bond, part Everyman. Christofi delivers a multilayered story that follows one man’s refracted path through life’s prism.
Zoe Apostolides, Financial Times
The novel explores its theme with style and lightness of touch… from human error and misunderstanding emerges a thoughtful, comic look at an ordinary life lived well
Jenn Ashworth, Guardian
A touching tale of young manhood in contemporary Britain
Observer, “New Faces of Fiction 2015”
A moving, funny coming of age tale
Independent, “10 Best New Fiction Books for Spring”
A rare novel, headed up by a sweetly picaresque idiot
Dazed Digital, “What Should You Be Reading in 2015?“
[An] entertaining and affecting novel
It’s a tale about growing up, one that’s as funny as it is touching. A talent to keep an eye on
Günter Glass, with his flaws and his limitations, and his belief in the better part of human nature, is a great pleasure to spend time with
Stephen Kelman, author of Pigeon English
A brilliant novel
Glass was such a pleasure to read, funny, beautiful and perceptive. It struck a deep note about the fleeting nature of existence
Sara Crowe, author of Campari for Breakfast
The author’s sense of theatre transforms individual escapades into serial drama; his gift for dialogue endows his characters with an understated wit and charm with which we can readily connect: above all, with Günter himself, a twenty-first century gentle knight tilting at today’s own, peculiar windmills
The Desmond Elliott Prize judges
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