Grove Press
Grove Press
Grove Press

The Club

by Takis Wuerger Translated from German by Charlotte Collins

A runaway international bestseller from a brilliant young German writer, set in the hallowed halls of Cambridge University, The Club is a smoldering story of class, privilege, and matters of the heart

  • Imprint Grove Paperback
  • Page Count 224
  • Publication Date February 18, 2020
  • ISBN-13 978-0-8021-4832-2
  • Dimensions 5.5" x 8.25"
  • US List Price $16.00
  • Imprint Grove Hardcover
  • Page Count 224
  • Publication Date March 12, 2019
  • ISBN-13 978-0-8021-2896-6
  • Dimensions 5.5" x 8.25"
  • US List Price $26.00
  • Imprint Grove Paperback
  • Publication Date March 12, 2019
  • ISBN-13 978-0-8021-4681-6
  • US List Price $26.00

About the Book

The English-language debut of one of Germany’s most highly regarded young writers, The Club is a blistering and timely novel set at Cambridge University, centering around an all-male dining club for the most privileged and wealthy young men at Cambridge and following an outsider who exposes the dark secrets of this group, the Pitt Club.

As a boy, Hans Stichler enjoys a fable-like childhood among the rolling hills and forests of North Germany, living an idyll that seems uninterruptable. A visit from Hans’s ailing English aunt Alex, who comes to stay for an entire summer, has a profound effect on the young Hans, all the more so when she invites him to come to university at Cambridge, where she teaches art history. Alex will ensure his application to St. John’s College is accepted, but in return he must help her investigate an elite university club of young aristocrats and wealthy social climbers, the Pitt Club. The club has existed at Cambridge for centuries, its long legacy of tradition and privilege largely unquestioned. As Hans makes his best efforts to prove club material and infiltrate its ranks, including testing his mettle in the boxing ring, he is drawn into a world of extravagance, debauchery, and macho solidarity. And when he falls in love with fellow student Charlotte, he sees a potential new life of upper-class sophistication opening up to him. But there are secrets in the club’s history, as well as in its present—and Hans soon finds himself in the inner sanctum of what proves to be an increasingly dangerous institution, forced to grapple with the notion that sometimes one must do wrong to do right.

Praise for The Club

“The gritty subject matter is juxtaposed against a prose style we tend to associate with a different kind of novel—it reads more like a coming-of-age story than a thriller. Würger’s writing is mannered; it often has an otherworldly, fable-like quality.”—Adelle Waldman, New York Times Book Review

“Würger’s debut was a bestseller in his native Germany. Its universal themes, brilliantly depicted world and taut storytelling constitute a recipe for further success . . . The Club starts out as a poignant coming-of-age tale and then morphs into an intelligent, fast-paced thriller that scrutinizes class divides and gender imbalance . . . Würger serves up visceral thrills with boxing bouts. But he delivers real knockout blows as Hans goes deeper undercover and learns ‘what humans are at heart: predators.’”—Malcolm Forbes, Minneapolis Star Tribune

“A timely, beautifully paced novel about class and prestige in the #MeToo era . . . In a campus novel that echoes the detective structure of Donna Tartt’s The Secret History, Würger cycles between each character’s voice to brilliantly evoke the medieval unreality of Cambridge and the almost comical wealth of the students. There is much to dissect in this concise and dramatic tale.”—Booklist

“A young man infiltrates a secret university club and discovers a dangerous secret . . . The club is full of rich, privileged young men well-versed in secrets, debauchery, and something far more sinister . . . The novel’s complicated ending touches on the problem of justice and redemption: who gets it, who deserves it, and its human cost. A sparse, cutting debut in which violence begets violence begets healing.”—Kirkus Reviews

“Distinguished German journalist Würger, who broke some bones boxing for a year at Cambridge, offers a powerful and provoking story.”—Library Journal

“A cunning, sinuous tale, Takis Würger’s The Club is so wildly entertaining that, at first, it’s easy to miss its deeper mysteries. But, as it unfolds, brutal truths about class and gender and violence emerge, take hold and shudder through the novel’s final pages.”—Megan Abbott, author of Give Me Your Hand

The Club, Takis Würger’s exquisite debut, is a novel as rare as a phoenix, a story both beautifully told and white-knuckle thrilling. A tale of pain, privilege and revenge, The Club reads like something both mythical and modern, a fable whose pages demand to be turned.”—Christopher J. Yates, author of Black Chalk and Grist Mill Road

“Filled with love, sorrow, and beauty—from the cover to the final sentence.”—Elle (Germany)

The Club describes the fine distinctions of class society as shrewdly and entertainingly as it talks about violent rituals at an English university . . . A truly great book.”—Denis Scheck, ARD

“A wonderful book. The tone is almost fable-like, but the themes are painfully contemporary.”—Brigitte

“Real writers are few and far between. I believe that Takis Würger is one of them.”—Thomas Glavinic, author of Night Work

“Toxic masculinity drips from the pages of Takis Wurger’s wrenching novel The Club. Lonely and broken, Hans is called to Cambridge University by his aunt and asked to infiltrate a prestigious and exclusive group of putative gentlemen. Boxing, class, and privilege swirl together, drawing Hans–and the reader–deeper and deeper into a glittering moral abyss. Vivid and all-too recognizable, the bad actors who have joined The Club will stay with readers long after they’ve closed the covers of this devastating book.”—David Enyeart, Common Good Books (St. Paul, MN)

“Würger artfully circles the dark secret of the university campus . . . His language is so transparent that the story is never weighed down with a sense of its significance . . . Skillfully choreographed.”—Die Zeit

“An enthralling book.”—Welt am Sonntag

“Würger writes about sex and crime in the noble Cambridge Pitt Club—without sentimentality but with both gentleness and an understanding of the zeitgeist.”—Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

“The fast-moving plot leaves the reader holding their breath.”—Hamburger Morgenpost

“Refined, gripping, and elegant all at once. Würger’s language is precise and impressive in its clarity and concision.”—Weser-Kurier

About the Translator

Charlotte Collins studied English at Cambridge University. She worked as an actor and radio journalist in both Germany and the U.K. before becoming a literary translator. She is best known for her translation of International Booker shortlisted Robert Seethaler’s A Whole Life and was the recipient of the Helen & Kurt Wolff’s Translator’s Prize in 2017.