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A Book to Look Out for in 2023 in the Irish Times, RTÉ Guide and the Sunday Independent
A sweeping and unforgettable interwar love story, from the Costa-shortlisted and bestselling Irish author of Life Sentences
1980s Cork. Jack Shine is sorting through his mother's belongings when he discovers a shoe box full of love letters and newspaper clippings. Jack's mother, Rebekah, was a young woman when the Second World War broke out, and she came to Cork alone as a Jewish refugee from Vienna. She died when Jack was young, and he never learned of his father's identity. So, who wrote these love letters to Rebekah and why did she keep newspaper clippings about a famous Austrian footballer player? Who was 'The Paper Man'?
As Jack begins to uncover the story of his mother's life, he is transported to 1930s Vienna, a bustling, cosmopolitan city on the brink of war. At the heart of the action is Matthias Sindelar, one of the most famous footballers in the world, known to all as 'The Paper Man' because of his effortless weave across the pitch. When Sindelar unexpectedly meets Rebekah, a young woman from a small town, both of their lives are changed forever. But as war looms, they must accept that their survival will tear them apart.
Based on real people and true events, The Paper Man is the story of twentieth-century Europe, the Holocaust, the cost of fame, and love against the odds. It is a story that will take Jack far from Cork and all the way back to Vienna, and towards The Paper Man.