Chasing the King of Hearts
by Hanna Krall
The internationally acclaimed Polish bestseller about the Holocaust. A remarkable true story of love and survival. Now for the first time in English.
The Warsaw Ghetto, 1942. When Izolda’s husband, Shayek, is imprisoned, she sets out to release him. She changes her name, her hair, her religion. Eventually she is captured and deported to Auschwitz. But even there, she trusts that her love will save them both.
Short-listed for The Jewish Quarterly-Wingate Prize 2015
Found in Translation Award 2014
Guardian’s Best Fiction 2013
Guardian Reader’s Books of the Year 2013
Winner English Pen Award 2013
Translated from the Polish by Philip Boehm.
176pp, paperback with flaps, £12.00
Publication date: 25 September 2013
Press & Reviews
'Chasing the King of Hearts is not only a love story and a Holocaust novel. Its deep and intimate inquiry is the mystery of personality – in other words, spiritual survival in a fateless universe... You now have in your hands a masterpiece.' Kapka Kassabova
'A spare, startling tale of love and survival.' Justine Jordan, The Guardian
'This strange unsettling novel ... is a remarkable find.... The reader is held at a distance by a tone that is so studiedly neutral as to be almost jaunty, yet because it is relating the most appalling atrocities it becomes the more affecting.' David Mills, Sunday Times
'An arresting style that rises in remarkable fashion to the challenge such a history poses to any narrator, combining steely lyricism with a thriller's tension.' Marek Kohn, Independent
'The narrative is epic in spirit but minimalist in its telling; historical but necessarily elliptical. With the homily of Walker Evans in mind – ‘Die knowing something. You are not here long’ – just read it.' Seán Sheehan, Irish Left Review
About The Book
Philip Boehm is the author of more than two dozen translations of novels and plays by German and Polish writers, including Nobelist Herta Müller, Christoph Hein, Bertolt Brecht and Stefan Chwin. Nonfiction translations include A Woman in Berlin by Anonymous and Words to Outlive Us, a collection of eyewitness accounts from the Warsaw Ghetto. For his work as a translator he has received numerous awards, most recently the Oxford-Weidenfeld Prize (UK), the Helen and Kurt Wolff Prize (US), and a Guggenheim Fellowship. He also works as a playwright and theatre director, and is the Founding Artistic Director of Upstream Theatre in St. Louis.