Small World Paperback
by Martin Suter
At first, they put Konrad's absentmindedness down to an immoderate fondness for alcohol.
For years he had been a benign parasite on the Koch family, first as the childhood playmate of Thomas, heir to the Koch family fortune, later as caretaker of the Koch family holiday villa on Corfu. And they, in their turn, had used him as the mood took them.
But when the villa burns down because of Konrad's forgetfulness, Elvira Senn, the matriarch of the Koch family, puts him on a strict regime.
No longer allowed his daily tipple, Konrad recovers and even falls in love again.
But then his condition deteriorates. He can't find his way out of the supermarket, let alone his way home.
Soon Konrad doesn't even recognise his new lover. Alzheimer's has taken hold. As Konrad loses his present he regains his distant past, and this is what Elvira fears the most.
As they watch and wait for him to rewind to the crucial moment, his life is in danger from far more than the debilitating disease...A gripping psychological thriller, Small World depicts a man with a void in his soul whose only salvation lies buried deep within himself.
- Format: Paperback
- Pages: 256 pages
- Publisher: Vintage Publishing
- Publication Date: 06/03/2003
- Category: Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)
- ISBN: 9780099449126
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Review by barbpie
This fast-paced 248-page mystery was published in 2001. Translated from the German by Sandra Harper, Small World features Koch family friend and ne’er do well, Konrad Lang, who starts off the book by burning down the Koch family villa in Corfu. Reminiscent of a Thomas Mann novel, in terms of family dynamics and the lifestyles of the rich but not really famous, SmallWorld’s mysteries are revealed as Konrad’s life unravels. Konrad has developed a bad case of Alzheimer’s disease, and unfortunately for the Koch family, the early memories Konrad is beginning to access are those they would rather keep secret.