Ludwig Unger’s life held such promise. His parents were artists and, from an early age, his own musical genius had marked him out for a stellar career in the world’s concert halls. In his mother’s imagination, Ludwig is already on the way to surpassing her most ambitious dreams for him. But in reality, and for now, he’s playing in local cocktail bars and the two of them are living alone in a storm-lashed clifftop cottage in East Anglia. As the forceful winter seas bash away at the coastline, and Ludwig plunks away at the piano, he begins to tell a woman his story: a story of beauty and decay, of a child’s faith and parental betrayal, and of the importance, in the end, of self-sacrifice.
'Tommy Wieringa's ambitious novel is a brilliant exploration of the uneasy transition from adolescence into adulthood — the restlessness, yearning for stability, irrational decisions and erotic obsessions.'
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'Beautifully lyrical storytelling under a banner of gray skies and heavy hearts; one gorgeous, epic reminder than no matter what skeletons we have in our closet, we all try our best and our hardest to do well by the ones we love — as Morrissey has sung: 'That's how people grow up.'
Dan Kennedy, host of The Moth podcast
'Although perfectly charming as picaresque, the tragedy of Unger’s plight registers just as strongly as its understated oddness ... Wieringa plays for keeps.'
Publishers Weekly (starred review)
'A potent, emotionally moving, beautifully realized novel about a young man seeking to understand his difficult, eccentric parents ... Wieringa masterfully examines the complex and often agonizing work that many of us undertake to live our own healthy, independent, adult lives.'
'The poet Philip Larkin’s famous observation that your mom and dad really mess you up is aptly illustrated in this offbeat, atmospheric novel ... [a] haunting book.'
'Tommy Wieringa’s inventive coming-of-age novel [involves] deeply flawed characters, maddening in their poor choices, but in Wieringa’s nimble hands, they elicit our sympathy.'
Cleveland Plain Dealer
‘Though anchored by emotional authenticity, Little Caesar reimagines the coming-of-age novel as surreal picaresque, the search for adult identity a wild and elusive quest with allusions to everything.’
Sydney Morning Herald