A Meal in Winter

A Novel of World War II

Acclaimed on its hardcover publication, a “sparse, beautiful and shocking novel” (Ian McEwan) of World War II and the Holocaust

“The book’s deceptive directness and simplicity, and its muted undercurrents of horror, will make many think of . . . Ernest Hemingway. [P]ainful, unconsoling reading . . . a reminder of the power a short, perfect work of fiction can wield.” —Sam Sacks, The Wall Street Journal 

The hardcover publication of A Meal in Winter established Hubert Mingarelli as one of the most exciting new voices in international fiction.

Mingarelli’s timeless novel begins one morning in the dead of winter, during the darkest years of World War II, with three German soldiers heading out into the frozen Polish countryside. They have been charged by their commanders with tracking down and bringing back for execution “one of them”—a Jew. Having flushed out a young man hiding in the woods, they decide to rest in an abandoned house before continuing their journey back to the camp. As they prepare food, they are joined by a passing Pole whose virulent anti-Semitism adds tension to an already charged atmosphere. Before long, the group’s sympathies begin to splinter when each man is forced to confront his own conscience as the moral implications of their murderous mission become clear.

Described by Liberation as “impossible to put down,” A Meal in Winter, with its ”simple declarative sentences and crystalline, cinematic vignettes” (Publishers Weekly) is a “masterpiece of empathy and horror” (The Guardian) that recalls the cinema of Polanski and Hitchcock, the work of Isaac Babel and Ernest Hemingway, and Louis Begley’s Wartime Lies.

Praise

“A masterpiece.”
The Independent
“Beautiful and disturbing, complex and surprising. . . . This is not easy for the reader to handle, but Mingarelli knows what he is doing.”
The Herald (Glasgow)
“Haunting. . . . With devastating concision, Mingarelli and his translator, Sam Taylor, carry the moral dilemma to an understated yet stunning conclusion.”
Publishers Weekly (starred)
“A luminous tale. . . . The most moving book I have read for a long time.”
The Independent on Sunday
“The command of tone and voice sustains tension until the very last page of a novel that will long resonate in the reader’s conscience.”
Kirkus Reviews (starred)
“It is 138 profound pages of horror and humanity.”
—Book of the Year, The Irish Times
“This strong and simple story packs a mighty punch.”
The Times (London)
“The ‘banality of evil’ finds beautiful, spare expression in this remarkable novella.”
—Ian McEwan
“Masterful. . . . Mingarelli offers a new twist on the Holocaust novel. His spare prose, crisply translated by Sam Taylor, adds to the narrative’s intensity and keeps you turning the pages until its poignant conclusion.”
The Huffington Post
“Short, powerful, vivid, and utterly compelling.”
The Jewish Chronicle
“Brilliant, devastating, [and] compelling.”
—Simon Sebag Montefiore, author of The Romanovs

News and Reviews

A Meal in Winter Reader's Group Guide

The New Press is pleased to share a Reading Group Guide for A Meal in Winter by Hubert Mingarelli.

The New York Times

"[S]tark and profound... Mr. Mingarelli allows us to see kernels of genuine sympathy in his soldiers without ever denying the fear and malice they must indulge to do their jobs," says John Williams of A Meal in Winter in The New York Times

Publishers Weekly

Publishers Weekly praises A Meal in Winter as a "brief, haunting novel" that comes to "an understated yet stunning conclusion" in their STARRED review

Kirkus Reviews

Kirkus calls A Meal in Winter "a novel that will long resonate in the reader's conscience" in their STARRED review

Books by Hubert Mingarelli

Four Soldiers
A Novel

Hubert Mingarelli