Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Showcase Wanderer by Sarah Leon Other Press

Today I'm showcasing Sarah Leon's debut Wanderer, this was originally published in French by the then 21 year old talented artist and now available in the US translated by John Cullen. I have my copy and can't wait to dig in and I'm sure after reading more about it you will too. And look for my review soon!

ISBN-13: 978-1590519257
Publisher: Other Press
Release Date: US release 1-8-2019
Length: 208pp
Buy It: Amazon/B&N/Kobo/IndieBound


An exceptional debut novel that explores the stifled, unspoken feelings of a music teacher and his former student, and the damage done by their years of silence

Hermin, a composer and instructor, leads a secluded life near the Bourbonnais Mountains in France, composing an homage to Schubert. On a bitter January night, this studious peace is broken when his former pupil, Lenny, a piano prodigy, mysteriously knocks at his door. The two men must confront the ghosts of their past, somewhere between musical harmony, erotic tension, and revelation.

Wanderer, echoing Schubert’s recurring theme, is a novel of rare delicacy, a twilight adagio, a Winterreise, and a subtle ode to German Romanticism.

Read an excerpt:

“You decided it was time for your Winter Journey, is that it?” Hermin asked jokingly.
Lenny smiled another small smile and said, “In a way…”
His silhouette stood out against the background of the snow-covered slope. Although his features were drawn by fatigue, his eyes shone. Almost laughing, he added, “Admit it, you weren’t expecting this.”
Which was putting it mildly. A teenager had left him; a man had returned.
“Well, you have taken me by surprise,” said Hermin, who was nevertheless quite aware that the youngster had always been surprise incarnate, that the role he played was the unexpected guest, the stranger passing through: on this evening, he came as a vagabond seeking shelter for a night, and that was all.
As his only reply, Lenny shrugged his shoulders. Then, casting a quick glance around, he said, “I never thought you’d leave your garret and come and bury yourself here…”
“Solitude is composition’s surest ally.”
This was as good a reply as any; Hermin wasn’t certain he believed it. “You must be tired,” he went on, pulling his friend into the Great Room, which would have seemed quite shabby had the fire not enriched it with sooty and golden-brown reflections that danced in the darkness on the furniture huddled around the hearth. Instead of switching on the lamp, Hermin grabbed two bronze candlesticks to prolong the spell. A light gleamed in the young man’s eyes.
“I remember picking those up from a junk dealer!”
“As you see, I still have them.”

Praise for Wanderer and Sarah Leon:

“Splendidly translated…an atmospheric, delicately wrought study of misunderstood emotion, heartbreaking yet incisive.” —Library Journal

“Léon perfectly measures out past and present to reach a satisfying and intimate crescendo.” —Booklist

“[A] staggering debut…Léon’s innovative blending of events across time and her delicate emotional precision make for a bewitching, immersive experience.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“[Wanderer] treats the relationship between the two men with a delicacy that is unexpectedly moving.” —Kirkus Reviews

“The German word Wanderer means ‘traveler.’ This romantic figure of the vagabond infuses this delicate and poetic story, which favors harsh winter nights.” —L’Express Styles

“This is a first novel as visual as it is musical, which reads in one go and leaves behind another beautiful melody: that of a new talent blossoming.” —Luxemburger Wort

“A story of reunion between musicians. A story of friendship between two men. A tribute to the great German Romanticism. All in a light, refined prose imbued with winter tones.” —La Montagne

About the author:
Sarah Léon was born in 1995 and studied literature and musicology at the École normale supérieure in Paris. She won the 2012 Prix Clara for her novella, Mon Alban.


  1. Thanks for showcasing this Debbie, it looks like it will be good!

  2. It sounds like an interesting find

    1. I know I love French writing and am excited to dig in

  3. Hope you enjoy it. The excerpt has me interested to see what comes next for them. Love the musical background of the pair.

  4. Fascinating cover, I look forward to your review.

  5. The synopsis teased me just enough to make me curious. Thanks for sharing Debbie!