Dear Mr. M
Translated by Sam Garrett
'An absolute page-turner' Mail on Sunday
Dear Mr. M,
I'd like to start by telling you that I'm doing better now. I do so because you probably have no idea that I was ever doing worse. Much worse, in fact, but I'll get to that later on.
Mr. M is being watched. As a famous writer, he is no stranger to the limelight, although interest in his work has been dwindling of late. His print runs are smaller than they used to be, as are the crowds at his bookshop signings . . . Our narrator clearly takes a keen interest in M.'s work, and indeed in every aspect of his life. But what exactly are his intentions? And to what does Mr. M owe the honour of his undivided attention?
Our narrator seems to be no stranger to murder, while his own story appears to bear more than a passing resemblance to the plot of Mr. M's most famous novel: a teacher has an affair with a student, only to be brutally murdered by the girl and her teenage boyfriend. The body is never found.
That's the problem with fiction: in real life, bodies have an awkward habit of turning up. Mr. M has used some artistic licence, and our narrator is not pleased, not pleased at all. And just before he fades into obscurity, he's prepared to give Mr. M one last review. And it's unlikely to be a rave.
Dear Mr. M is an unsettling and irresistibly readable literary thriller, set in the world of writing and bookselling, by Herman Koch, the author of the international bestseller, The Dinner.
A riveting but disturbing literary thriller . . . Delicately told, in spare, haunting prose, there are echoes of Stephen King's Misery, but this is even more subtle, with a denouement to send shivers down the spine.
The strands come blackly and brilliantly together . . . The climax is unexpected and very pleasing.
Koch's literary thriller is one of exceptional ingenuity, with two equally compelling threads . . . An absolute page-turner.
Mail on Sunday