Eugen Ruge, born in the Urals, studied mathematics in Berlin and became a member of the research staff at the Central Institute for Geophysics in Potsdam. He left the GDR for the West in 1988, where he began working as a writer and translator. He was awarded the Schiller Prize and stipend by the state of Baden Württemberg for his dramatic works. His first novel, In Times of Fading Light, was an international success and received numerous awards, including the Alfred Döblin Prize, the Aspekte Prize for Literature, and the German Book Prize. 2013 saw the publication of Cabo de Gata. A collection of plays and Approaches: Impressions of 14 Countries followed.
The end of a love affair. A powerful, fact-based novel.
Moscow, 1936. Charlotte, a German communist, has narrowly evaded capture by the Nazis. In late summer that year, she embarks on a journey lasting several weeks through her new Heimat, the Soviet Union, accompanied by her husband Wilhelm and Jill, a young British woman. The heat is overpowering and Stalin’s beaches are stony and narrow. The travellers feel oppressed by a tension that soon becomes visceral and forges a connection amongst the group more intense than they immediately realise. All of them work for the intelligence organisation of the Comintern that employs communists from around the world. Yet one of the “enemies of the people” on trial in Moscow is someone Lotte knows well, better than she would like.
Metropol follows three people navigating conviction and knowledge, loyalty and obedience, suspicion and betrayal. The political terror of the 1930s is unfathomable in its horror. But some people’s personal beliefs are equally shocking.
“The most likely details are fiction,” writes Eugen Ruge, “but the most unlikely ones are true.” The woman with the codename ‘Lotte Germaine' who found herself at the Hotel Metropol at the end of that momentous summer was Ruge’s grandmother.