Hysteria breaks out in the idyllic town of Furth am See: a young man falls to his death from scaffolding; then a beaten child is brought in to the police, soon followed by others showing similar signs of abuse. The authorities are put under serious pressure to find the perpetrators, but with the child victims too terrified to talk, neither Criminal Commissioner Kovacs nor psychiatrist Raffael Horn seem able to make any headway. The case raises anxiety amongst the residents about the physical punishment of their children, but the truth behind the abuse is more horrifying than anyone could imagine.
Paulus Hochgatterer is a distinguished child psychiatrist living in Vienna, whose work informs his novels. The Sweetness of Life was published by MacLehose Press in 2008 to great acclaim. Jamie Bulloch's translations include The Sweetness of Life and Ruth Maier's Diary, and he has co-translated Daniel Glattauer's Love Virtually.