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Peter Florence: The book that changed my life

Finding the book again reminded me of the sheer joy of curiosity, adventure and discovery

By Peter Florence  

Illustration by Bill McConkey

Sansibar, oder der letzte Grund by Alfred Andersch

In the fourth bookstack upstairs at Richard Booth’s Bookshop in Hay, I’m sitting up against the European Travel shelving listening to a string quartet playing in the well of the building.

It’s an impeccably ordered shop, so it’s with some surprise that I see the spine of a novel I haven’t heard of for 40 years wrongly shelved in the Africa section. Alfred Andersch wrote Sansibar, oder der letzte Grund in the 1950s. It translates, literally, as…

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