Nominated by:

Stadtbibliothek Bremen, Germany

Publisher of nominated edition:

Open Letter Books, USA

The Canvas

Benjamin Stein      

Translated from the original German by Brian Zumhagen

2014 Longlist

Loosely based on the true story of Binjamin Wilkomirski, whose fabricated 1995 Holocaust memoir transfixed the reading public, The Canvas has a singular construction – its two inter-related narratives begin at either end of the book and meet in the middle.
Amnon Zichroni, a psychoanalyst in Zurich, encourages Minsky to write a book about his traumatic childhood experience in a Nazi death camp, a memoir which the journalist Jan Wechsler claims is a fiction. Ten years later, a suitcase arrives on Wechsler’s doorstep. Allegedly, he lost the suitcase an a trip to Israel, but Wechsler has no memory of the suitcase, nor the trip, and he travels to Israel to investigate the mystery. But it turns out he has been to Israel before, and his host on the trip, Amnon Zichroni, has been missing ever since. . .
A mind-bending investigation of memory, identity, truth, and delusion, The Canvas is the publishing event of the year, a novel whose meaning depends on the order in which it is read.

(From Publisher)

About the Author

Benjamin Stein was born in East Berlin in 1970. He has worked as an editor and correspondent for various computer magazines and has been a corporate I.T. advisor since 1998. He owns the author-run publishing house Edition Neue Moderne and writes the literary weblog “Turmsegler.” Benjamin Stein is married with two children and lives in Munich.

Librarian’s Comments

The Canvas is Benjamin Stein’s inventive debut novel. The stories of two different yet connected individuals correspond to the two front covers of the book. Each of the covers is a possible starting point. The novel explores the nature of memory and its significance to personal identity.

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