The Clubby Takis Wuerger
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
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.
“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