Endpapers (Kobo eBook)

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Part family memoir, part lost historical narrative, and part archive of literary and publishing history, Endpapers paints a powerful portrait of a Jewish German family divided by exile, abandonment, and emigration that reaches back in history to the assimilation and anti-Semitism of the early nineteenth century and through the violence of the twentieth century and beyond.

Endpapers features the history of a pivotal figure in transatlantic publishing, which is sure to interest reviewers. Kurt Wolff, the author’s grandfather, founded the Kurt Wolff Verlag in 1913 in Germany, where he was the first publisher of many of the works of Franz Kafka, including The Metamorphosis, alongside authors like Émile Zola and Anton Chekhov. When Kurt Wolff emigrated to the United States in 1941, he founded Pantheon Books, which developed a singular reputation for publishing the best European writers, including Boris Pasternak’s Nobel-winning novel Doctor Zhivago, and works by Carl Jung, Giuseppe de Lampedusa, and Günter Grass. Many never-before-recounted details of this publishing history come to life in Endpapers.

The Wolff papers have been very closely held by the family for decades, and the author is the first person to investigate them at this level. Much of this literary history has never before been published.

Endpapers will appeal to lovers of books that illuminate a historical moment through the lens of a single family, such as New York Times bestseller The Hare with Amber Eyes or My Grandfather Would Have Shot Me by Jennifer Teege. It will also appeal to readers interested in German cultural and intellectual history, fans of books like The Lady in Gold and The Rape of Europa.

We will do outreach to known Germanophiles including Jonathan Franzen, who has championed and translated the works of Karl Kraus, one of the most important early authors of the Kurt Wolff Verlag. Alongside Franzen, we hope for support from writers like Ron Chernow, Daniel Mendelsson, Erik Larson, Anna Funder, Alan Furst, Caroline Moorhead, Daniel Kehlmann, Francine Prose, Tom Stoppard, Alexander Waugh, Philippe Sands, Christopher Browning, John Kamper, and authors of The Zhivago Affair Peter Finn and Petra Couvée, among others.

We will do outreach to German institutions in the States that work in the literary and cultural spheres, including the administrators of the Helen & Kurt Wolff Translation Prize, awarded each year for a work translated from German into English and published in the USA. We will also do early academic outreach to build on for the paperback.

Endpapers contains over fifty family photographs that give faces to the characters in the book, alongside a beautifully illustrated family tree.

Grove Press will be publishing in the UK, where the team is already very enthusiastic about the book’s potential, and German rights are under offer.

Alexander Wolff served as a staff writer for Sports Illustrated for over thirty years and has written and edited several highly acclaimed and bestselling books on basketball, but this is the first time he is turning to his own family story.