Welcome to the Chunkster Reading Challenge - a challenge which satisfies those readers who like their books fat and chunky!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Featured Book for July: The Emperor of Lies by Steve Sem-Sandberg

The Emperor of Lies by Steve Sem-Sandberg
ISBN 9781250007636
672 pages
Picador (July 3, 2012)

We are happy to introduce THE EMPEROR OF LIES by award-winning author Sem-Sandberg (translated from the Swedish by Sarah Death) as this month's Chunkster Challenge feature book. I am currently reading this amazing novel and I am riveted. Watch for my review later this month.

In February 1940, the Nazis established what would become the second-largest Jewish ghetto in the Polish city of Lódz. Its chosen leader: Mordechai Chaim Rumkowski, a sixty-three-year-old Jewish businessman and orphanage director. From one of Scandinavia's most critically acclaimed and bestselling authors, The Emperor of Lies chronicles the tale of Rumkowski's monarchical rule over a quarter million Jews. Driven by a titanic ambition, he sought to transform the ghetto into a productive industrial complex and strove to make it —and himself — indispensable to the Nazi regime. Drawing on the chronicles of life in the Lódz Ghetto, Steve Sem-Sandberg captures the full panorama of human resilience and asks the most difficult questions: Was Rumkowski a ruthless opportunist, an accessory to the Nazi regime driven by a lust for power? Or was he a pragmatic strategist who managed to save Jewish lives through his collaboration policies? 
 "Fiction of true moral force, brilliantly sustained and achieved...I find it difficult to think of any book that has had such an immediate and powerful impact on me...Brave and brilliant."—Hilary Mantel, author of Wolf Hall

"A resolute masterpiece, The Emperor of Lies looks for truths in the great domain of dissolving syntax and shadows we call history....A great achievement."—Sebastian Barry, Salon

The novel won the esteemed August Prize in 2009.


Steve Sem-Sandberg was born in 1958 and divides his time between Vienna and Stockholm. He is a Swedish novelist and literary critic living in Stockholm and Vienna. He has published many books in Swedish, including De ansiktlösa (novel, 1987), I en annan del av staden (essays, 1990), En lektion i pardans (novel, 1993), Theres (novel, 1996), Allt fögängligt är bara en bild (novel, 1999) Prag (No Exit) (essays, 2002), Ravensbrück (novel, 2003), Härifrån till Allmänningen (novel, 2005), and De fattiga i Łódź (novel, 2009). The latter has been translated into numerous languages, including English (The Emperor of Lies), German (Die Elenden von Łódź) and French (Les Dépossédés). In 2009, he was awarded both De Nios Stora Pris and the August Prize, two of Sweden's most prestigious literary awards.

Would you like to win a copy of this work of historical fiction?  

Go to THIS POST to enter to win one of FIVE books being offered by the publisher (contest is open to US mailing addresses; you do NOT need to be a participant in the Chunkster Challenge to enter).

FTC Disclosure: Book giveaways and featured book articles are NOT paid promos. Although books for giveaway will be supplied by the publisher (in most cases), The Chunkster Challenge administrators do not accept payment to host these special events.


  1. Wow!
    Too bad I don't have a US address for participating in the giveaway! :-)

  2. Scribacchina - All our giveaways since the first of the year have been open internationally even though the publishers will only ship within the US or Canada (I was willing to pay to ship if someone out of the country won). This time, because of financial considerations and the number of books we are giving away this month, I just could not afford to open this up internationally since I am the one who has to pay shipping if someone out of the US wins (otherwise, the publisher ships). I'm sorry you're disappointed, but unless someone wants to donate money for shipping books out of the country, sometimes we will have to restrict giveaways. Neither Vasilly nor I get paid for these promos (see FTC disclosure above).


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