By John Wray

This outstanding debut novel from Whiting Writers’ Award winner John Wray is a poetic portrait of a existence redeemed at one of many darkest moments in global history.

Twenty years after deserting the military within the first global battle, Oskar Voxlauer returns to the village of his formative years. Haunted by way of his earlier, he reveals an uneasy peace within the mountains–but it's 1938 and Oskar can't get away from the emerging tide of Nazi effect on the town. He makes an attempt to retreat to the woods, basically to be drawn again by means of his personal moral sense and the chilling cognizance that the lady whose love may possibly ultimately retailer him is certain to the neighborhood SS commander. Morally complicated, brilliantly plotted, and heartbreakingly discovered, The correct Hand of Sleep marks the start of a big literary profession.

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Sample text

And in the matter of the as-yet-unresolved murder case in Niessen bei Villach, the direction of inquiry will come as no surprise to keen followers of history . . —Villacher Tageblatt, September 8, 1938 NIESSEN OCTOBER 12, 1917 A boy came out of the house first, the crumbling, sun-yellowed house with the dark tiles and ivied sides, the peaked roof and sandstone steps down which he went stiffly, nervously, adjusting the plaid schoolboy’s backpack on his shoulders. A tall stooping boy in his middle teens, smiling to himself as he waited by the gate, breathing quickly.

She clucked brightly, waving a hand. —We’ll take care of that first, then. —I’m not going into town yet. —Oskar. —Yes? She paused a moment, looking at him looking back at her. Her expression softened. —Suit yourself, then. As he heard her footfalls on the gravel his breath came easier to him. His worn face had shocked her. He’d sent photographs but those were now years out of date. One of the house, one of the horses. One of himself and Anna, taken on the occasion of their third anniversary. He went into the parlor to look for them.

With that face? In a gasthaus? —He’s a good boy for all that. They know our family still, in town, I believe. —Of course they do, Dora. There’s nothing to say in that regard. —And they remember him, too, some of them. Another pause. —Some of them do, yes. —Paul Ryslavy does. —He’s been away so long, Dora. And with the Russians the whole while. —Because of that woman. She cursed quietly. —That turnip picker. —Well. —What? —Well, Dora— —It was cancer of the liver, said Voxlauer, stepping in from the stairwell.

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