The King of Warsaw: A cinematic and thoughtful thriller

Szczepan Twardoch’s tale of anti-Semitic violence in prewar Poland is a must-read

The Jewish area of Warsaw In August 1938. Photograph: Keystone-France/Gamma-Keystone via Getty

The Jewish area of Warsaw In August 1938. Photograph: Keystone-France/Gamma-Keystone via Getty

A tall, handsome Jewish boxer comes to the door, takes Moyjesz Bernsztajn’s father away and has him chopped to pieces and his remains tossed in a pond. So begins Szczepan Twardoch’s arresting third novel, The King of Warsaw.

This is the first of Twardoch’s books to be translated into English, although he’s had much success in his native Poland and elsewhere with bestsellers Morphine, Drach and the Polish version of this book, Król (The King). Among his many impressive accolades are the Brücke-Berlin Prize and a nomination for the Prix du Livre Européen.

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