Winner of the 2015 Arno Reinfrank Literaturpreis"Ruven Preuk stands apart from the village, on an August day in 1911, and listens." Thus begins an epic bildungsroman about the life of Ruven Preuk, son of the wainwright, child of a sleepy village in Germany's north, where life is both simple and harsh. Ruven, though, is neither. He has the ability to see sounds, leading him to discover an uncanny gift for the violin. When he meets a talented teacher in the city's Jewish quarter, Ruven falls under the spell of a prodigious future. But as the twentieth century looms, Ruven's pursuit of his craft takes a turn. In The Last Country, Svenja Leiber spins a tale that moves from the mansions of a disappearing aristocracy to a communist rebellion, from a joyous village wedding to a Nazi official's threats, from the First World War to the Second. As the world Ruven knows disappears, the gifted musician must grapple with an important question: to what end has he devoted himself to his art?
Svenja Leiber is an award-winning German writer. She is the author of a collection of short stories, Hunting Hours, and the novel Schipino. She lives with her husband and two children in Berlin. Nika Knight is a translator and writer living in southern Maine.