by Nir Baram
translated by Jeffrey Green
Pub Date: 29/09/2016
Rights: World English: Text Publishing; Other: The Liepman Agency
Translated by Jeffrey Green
It’s late 1938.
Thomas Heiselberg has built a career in Berlin as a market researcher for an American advertising company.
In Leningrad, twenty-two-year-old Sasha Weissberg has grown up eavesdropping on the intellectual conversations in her parents’ literary salon.
They each have grand plans for their lives. Neither of them thinks about politics too much, but after catastrophe strikes they will have no choice.
Thomas puts his research skills to work elaborating Nazi propaganda. Sasha persuades herself that working as a literary editor of confessions for Stalin’s secret police is the only way to save her family.
When destiny brings them together, they will have to face the consequences of the decisions they have made.
Nir Baram’s Good People has been showered with praise in many countries. With its acute awareness of the individual amid towering historical landscapes, it is a tour de force: sparkling, erudite, a glimpse into the abyss.
PRAISE FOR NIR BARAM AND GOOD PEOPLE
‘Quite possibly, Dostoyevsky would write like this if he lived in Israel today.’ Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung
‘Written with great talent, momentum and ingenuity…it expands the borders of literature to reveal new landscapes.’ Amos Oz
‘One of the most intriguing writers in Israeli literature today.’ Haaretz
‘[Baram] asks what kind of people would choose to serve…empires of falsehood with their eyes open and their minds sharp. Not monsters or even cynics, he answers in a pacey, plot-heavy novel of dramatic events and big ideas, but gifted storytellers fuelled by ordinary motives of love, loyalty or ambition.’ Economist
‘Good People rewards the reader’s patience while mining a tragic sense of irony that extends all the way to its title.’ Big Issue
‘Good People has been showered with praise for its elegance prose and scope…By putting the types of people who brought about the Second World War under a microscope, Baram creates an allegorical warning bell.’ Culture Trip
‘Chillingly captures the terrors and tensions of life under Stalin and Hitler. The chapters set in Russia are particularly effective, carrying the suspense of a spy thriller. Nir Baram explores the frightening speed and ease with which ordinary people become functionaries in totalitarian societies.’ Times Literary Supplement
‘Good People is a subtle, original, and fascinating take on the wartime story. We forget that the brutality was as much a bureaucratic effort as a military one. We forget that even the most massive, most evil forces are comprised of moving human parts. If Good People has a moral, it is this: the totalitarian state will attempt to possess the individual by co-opting his (relatively innocent) instincts—ambition, greed, security and love. The question at heart is if it is possible within an evil system to be good.’ Jewish Book Council