Local author Keith Fentonmiller will be at Book Beat on Sunday, September 17th from 1 to 3 PM. Keith will be reading from and signing copies of his debut novel, Kasper Mützenmacher’s Cursed Hat. This event is free and open to the public. If you have any questions or would like to reserve a copy, please call Book Beat at (248) 968-1190.
Kasper Mützenmacher keeps a divine “wishing hat”—a thought-operated teleportation device—locked in the wall safe of his Berlin hat shop. According to an old prophecy, after Kasper’s Greek ancestor stole the wishing hat from Hermes, Fate cursed his progeny to sell hats, on pain of mayhem or death. Kasper, however, doesn’t mind making hats, and he loves Berlin’s cabaret scene even more. But his carefree life of jazz and booze comes to a screeching halt when he must use the wishing hat to rescue his flapper girlfriend Isana from the shadowy Klaus, a veil-wearing Nazi who brainwashes his victims until they can’t see their own faces.
Isana and Kasper’s happiness proves fleeting. Years after her mysterious death, Kasper struggles as a lonely, single father of two until he meets Rosamund Lux, recently released from a political prison where Klaus took her face. Kasper soon suspects that Rosamund is no ordinary woman. According to the prophecy, certain Lux women descend from the water nymph Daphne, who, during Olympian times, transformed into a laurel tree to avoid Apollo’s sexual advances; they, too, suffer from an intergenerational curse connected to Hermes’ stolen hat. As Kasper falls deeper in love, Rosamund’s mental health deteriorates. She has nightmares and delusions about Klaus, and warns that he will launch a night of terror once he’s collected enough faces.
Kasper dismisses the growing Nazi threat until the government reclassifies him as a Jew in 1938. His plan to emigrate unravels when anti-Jewish riots erupt and the Nazis start loading Jews on boxcars to Dachau. Then Rosamund goes missing, and Klaus steals the wishing hat, the family’s only means of escape.
Kasper, however, will face his most difficult battle in America. He must convince his wayward son and indifferent grandson to break the curse that has trapped the family in the hat business for sixteen centuries. Their lives will depend on it.
Book One of the Life Indigo series, Kasper Mützenmacher’s Cursed Hat is a fantastical family saga about tradition, faith, and identity, set during the Jazz Age, Nazi Germany, and the Detroit race riots of 1943. Comparable works include: The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, Everything Is Illuminated, and Underground Airlines.
“This is an amazing debut novel—wildly imaginative, powerfully written, funny, and deeply humane. However mythic his characters—they include a Nazi interrogator with the power to make women incapable of seeing their own faces—Fentonmiller renders them fully and credibly. Equally impressive is his deft handling of a broad range of time and space—from Weimar Germany to sixties Detroit. This is a book not to be missed.”
—Terence Hawkins, author of American Neolithic (named one of the Best Indie Books of 2014 by Kirkus Reviews)
“Kasper Mützenmacher’s Cursed Hat is highly creative and imaginative, brimming with invention, mythology, psychology, secrets, characters, generations, cleverness and wisdom. Incredible, overwhelming, compelling.”
—Catherine Bell, author of Rush of Shadows (winner of the Washington Writers’ Publishing House 2014 Fiction Prize)
Keith Fentonmiller is a consumer protection attorney for the Federal Trade Commission in Washington, D.C. Before graduating from the University of Michigan Law School, he toured with a professional comedy troupe, writing and performing sketch comedy at colleges in the Mid-Atlantic States. His Pushcart-nominated short story was recently published in The Stonecoast Review.