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The Glass Pearls

Emeric Pressburger
Date Published
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Karl Braun is a slight, grey-haired man who lodges in West London and works as a tuner for a firm of piano makers who know little or nothing about him. His fellow lodgers believe that he, like them, came to England to flee Hitler. But the outwardly poised Herr Braun is inwardly a very anxious man, wracked especially by newspaper reports of the ongoing hunt for Nazi war criminals.

The Glass Pearls (1966) was the second novel by Emeric Pressburger, who, with Michael Powell, created such cinematic masterworks as A Matter of Life and Death and The Red Shoes. Likely inspired by the capture of Adolf Eichmann, it is a gripping psychological study of a cultured man, guilty of unspeakable crimes, trying to hide in plain sight.

This new edition includes two new introductions, by cinema scholar Caitlin McDonald and by Pressburger’s grandson, the Oscar-winning film director Kevin Macdonald.


Imre J√≥zsef Pressburger was born into a Jewish family in Austria-Hungary in 1902. He studied engineering at Prague and Stuttgart universities before moving to Weimar-era Berlin in 1926. There he fell on hard times and lived on the streets for a period before publishing his first short story in 1928. Two years later he started writing scripts for UFA, the…

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Emric Pressburger sitting in front of a cottage