Alain Claude Sulzer

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Photograph: Lucian Hunziker


Associate: Seren Adams


Alain Claude Sulzer was born in Basel in 1953. Alongside his translations from French into German, he has published eight books since 1983 (novels and stories). He won the highly acclaimed Prix Medicis Etranger and the Prix des Auditeurs de la Radio Suisse Romande for A PERFECT WAITER, which is translated into ten languages. His novel AUS DEN FUGEN was published to rave reviews and reached the top of the Swiss bestseller list. It was also nominated for the Schweizer Buchpreis 2012 and was published in English in 2014. POSTSKRIPTUM, a novel, was published in 2015 by Galiani in Germany, Sellerio Editore in Italy, and Editions Jacqueline Chambon in France, where it was longlisted for the Prix Femina 2016. 

Alain's new book, DIE JUGEND IST EIN FREMDES LAND, a memoir of his youth in Switzerland, was published in September 2017 by Kiepenheuer & Witsch. 

Praise for A PERFECT WAITER (2008):

'This is an elegant, unsettling, small masterpiece that bears slow rereading and gratifyingly assumes the intelligence of the reader' Guardian

'Erotic tendresse and mittel-European manners go hand-in- hand in Alain Claude Sulzer's perfectly-formed novella' Independent




Publication DetailsNotes


It is 1971. A seventeen year old boy is prompted by a picture of his father wearing an expensive Omega watch to wonder about the secrets his father kept before he committed suicide days after the boy's birth. Confronted with a wall of silence, the narrator decides to take matters into his own hands and to unearth his father’s past, together with the missing watch.



A solo recital at the Berliner Philharmonie. Olsberg, a world-famous pianist, gets up in the middle of a piano sonata, leaves the concert hall without a word, never to return. This single act results in dramatic changes in the lives of various people present at this event - a Berlin socialite’s soiree in honour of Olsberg is cancelled, a betrayed wife returns home from the concert too early to preserve her ignorance, a godmother learns more about her god-daughter than she had bargained for, a member of the catering staff decides that the general chaos might offer the perfect opportunity to upgrade his life, a businessman discovers that the call girl meant to accompany him to the Philharmonie is actually somebody from his past...'Aus den Fugen' shows us how the impulsive actions of a single person can reverberate and cause life-altering consequences for those who least suspect it.



'In Alain Claude Sulzer's novels, the love can not be lived. In Private takes a passion to silence. ' Schweizer Illustrierte



The outwardly composed Swiss waiter Erneste is inwardly consumed by a deep, passionate love for the man he met thirty years ago. Sulzer's first novel to be translated into English moves between two time periods to tell the story of the doomed gay love affair.



'[a] novel based on a careful investigation of historical facts, which are referenced to the tension-free tone of a report, but also fictional charge. The result is a faction novelistic prose narrative of considerable sophistication. ' Sandra Kluwe, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung