One Clear Ice-Cold January Morning At The Beginning Of The Twenty-First Century by Roland Schimmerlpfennig

The Blurb On The Back:

One clear ice-cold January morning shortly after dawn, a wolf crosses the border between Poland and Germany.  His trail leads all the way to Berlin, connecting the lives of disparate individuals whose paths intersect and diverge.

On an icy motorway eighty kilometres outside the city, a fuel tanker jack-knifes and explodes.  The lone wolf is glimpsed on the hard shoulder and photographed by Tomasz, a Polish construction worker who cannot survive in Germany without his girlfriend.  Elisabeth and Micha run away through the snow from their home village, crossing the wolf’s tracks on their way to the city.  A woman burns her mother’s diaries on a Berlin balcony.  And Elisabeth’s father, a famous sculptor, observes the vast skeleton of a whale in his studio and asks: What am I doing here?  And why?

Experiences and encounters flicker past with a raw, visual power, like frames in a black and white film.  Those who catch sight of the wolf see their own lives reflected, and find themselves searching for a different path in a cold time. 

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The Ascendancy Of Finance by Joseph Vogl

The Blurb On The Back:

The global financial crisis of 2008 ushered in a system of informal decision-making in the grey zone between economics and politics.  Legitimised by a rhetoric of emergency, ad hoc bodies have usurped democratically elected governments.  In line with the neoliberal credo, the recent crisis has been used to re-align executive power with the interests of the finance industry.

In this important book, Joseph Vogl offers a longer perspective on these developments, showing how the dynamics of modern finance capitalism have always rested on a complex and constantly evolving relationship between private creditors and the state.  He argues that over the last three centuries, finance has become a ‘fourth power’, marked by the systematic interconnection of treasury and finance, of political and private economic interests.

The Ascendency Of Finance provides valuable and unsettling insight into the genesis of modern power and where it truly resides.

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Society Of Fear by Heinz Bude

The Blurb On The Back:

From the rise of terrorism to the uncertainties associated with economic crisis and recession, our age is characterised by fear.  Fear is the expression of a society on unstable foundations.  Most of us feel that our social status is under threat and our future prospects in jeopardy.  We are overwhelmed by a sense of having been catapulted into a world to which we no longer belong.

Tracing this experience, Heinz Bude uncovers a society marked by disturbing uncertainty, suppressed anger and quiet resentment.  This is as true in our close relationships as it is in the world of work, in how we react to politicians as much as in our attitudes towards bankers and others in the financial sector.  Bude shows how this fear is not derived so much from a “powerful other” but rather from the seemingly endless range of possibilities that we face.  While this may seem to offer us greater autonomy and freedom, in reality the unknown impact and meaning of each option creates a vacuum which is filled by fear.

What conditions lead people to feel anxious and fearful for themselves and others?  How can individuals withstand fear and develop ways of making their fears intelligible?  Probing these and other questions, Bude provides a fresh analysis of some of the most fundamental features of our societies today. 

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The Cleaner by Elisabeth Herrmann

The Blurb On The Back:

An unforgettable heroine. 

An unforgiveable past.

Pools of blood, scenes of carnage, signs of agonising death – who deals with the aftermath of violence once the bodies have been taken away?

Judith Kepler has seen it all.  She is a crime scene specialist.  She turns crime scenes back into habitable spaces.  She is a cleaner.  But when she is called to the home of a woman who has been brutally murdered, she is suddenly confronted with her own past.

As Judith begins to ask questions, she comes to the attention of former members of the Stasi, and becomes the target of some powerful enemies.  Will she be able to get to the truth whilst keeping the secret she’s held all these years? 

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